Montrose Playhouse has set a date to roll out the red carpet for the opening of the town’s state-of-the-art £4m million community cinema.
Nine years on from the beginning of a dream to transform the Angus town’s old swimming pool, Friday October 8 will see the doors open to the public for the first time.
VIP red carpet nights are to be held on the two nights leading up to the first public screenings as a thank you to backers of the ambitious community culture hub initiative.
The Playhouse Project got the keys to The Mall building back in 2017 after buying it from Angus Council for £1 in pursuit of the screen dream.
Volunteers spent thousands of hours tackling a DIY SOS-style strip-out of the building.
Main contractor Bancon Construction moved onto the site in early 2020.
The Playhouse’s three screens have been created in what was once the main pool hall.
The will seat 110, 145 and 147 film fans.
A café bar and community spaces have also been built, with some original features from the building’s former role being retained.
The project received £2.2m from the Scottish Government’s regeneration capital grant fund and around £100,000 from the Screen Scotland cinema equipment fund.
Project volunteers have raised more than £120,000 through initiatives such as crowdfunding and sponsorship.
The project, led by Playhouse chairman David Paton, has also secured internationally-renowned town filmmaker Anthony Baxter as a patron.
Mr Baxter said he was honoured to take up the role.
His work includes the award-winning You’ve Been Trumped documentary based around the former US president’s creation of a golf course on the Menie estate in Aberdeenshire, and its You’ve Been Trumped Too sequel.
Mr Baxter said: “I am full of admiration for what the team has achieved in making this project a reality.
“David’s vision and the extraordinary work of the volunteers and their dedication over all these years is truly inspirational.
“To transform Montrose’s old swimming pool into a state-of-the-art three screen cinema, with its beautiful café bar and other incredible facilities during this pandemic, is an astonishing achievement.
“I really look forward to helping in any way I can, to make The Playhouse a success and a cultural hub we can all be very proud of.”
Mr Baxter won recent acclaim for his intimate portrayal of Montrose artist James Morrison in the documentary, Eye of the Storm.