Montrose can expect to be blown away by the town’s new community cinema when the wraps come off the £3.5 million project within weeks.
Mr Bond and the 25th film in the 007 franchise will be on the big screen for the Playhouse premiere when the doors open to the public on October 8.
But the team behind the cinema venture hope film fans will think the real epic is the spectacular transformation of the Angus town’s former swimming pool into a state-of-the-art three-screen complex and community arts space.
It is now a race against time to put the finishing touches to the 18-month build and realise the nine-year Playhouse project dream.
A brace of red carpet VIP nights will be followed by the opening to the general public on October 8.
Playhouse project chairman David Paton believes locals – and moviegoers he hopes will come to the Playhouse from farther afield – will be thrilled by the finished attraction.
The cavernous pool building has given the project team remarkable scope to maximise the use of space beyond the three main screens.
A main entrance familiar to generations of local swimmers has been retained.
The classy complex features a café bar, community space and facilities including a Changing Places toilet.
Original features including the diving board and starting blocks have been saved to add a special touch to the bar area.
Value for money
Main contractor Bancon Construction is about to hand over the building for the Playhouse team to prepare for the grand unveiling.
Mr Paton said: “I think what we have achieved here for £3.5m is real value for money.
“We hope everyone who comes to the Playhouse will agree.
“We have managed that with the combination of a really good contractor working with us and just being sensible with things.
“From the very beginning we have also had the community with us – schools, businesses and the people of Montrose.
“That has continued through sponsorship for seats, booths, bricks and all of the other public support that has raised £181,000.
David added: “It’s hugely exciting, especially when you now see it like this and we are almost there.”
“I think when the seats actually went in, that was the real moment for me in the whole build.
“When I stood there at the bottom and looked up at them in place, I knew this was going to be even more epic than anyone thought it would be.
“We still have a lot to do, but we will get there and we just cannot wait to actually welcome people to the Playhouse.”
It been a fascinating personal and professional journey for architect David.
Recently appointed an associate director of town firm Crawford Architecture, the 38-year-old said: “I have learned a lot about a building I would probably never have been involved with had I not begun the Playhouse project.
“In a professional context, it’s been an amazing learning curve and it has been a building which has given us so much opportunity to create something special.
“It has thrown up its challenges, but every project does that and you just have to find a way of working around them.”
Venue manager Matt Buchanan will lead a team of around 27 and said local enthusiasm for the unveiling is palpable.
As the old pool has emerged from its cloak of scaffolding and hoardings taken down, passers-by have been able to get an early glimpse of the brick ‘walk of fame’ at the front entrance bearing the names of project supporters.
“I am really looking forward to the handover and then we can get the team in and start familiarising ourselves with the building,” said Matt, who has arrived in Montrose after seven years with store giant John Lewis.
“The feeling that is coming through is that the community really want to see us succeed.
“Given the shortages that people in the hospitality industry are having we were quite overwhelmed by the response from people wanting to join us, most of them from Montrose.”
He said: “We’ll be starting off with four films per day, per screen, so that’s around a dozen for people to choose from.
“Our website for the programme of opening events is launched this week.
“We are also preparing to release our social programme, which is a tremendously exciting part of the whole project.
“We need to get to know the building and it’s a tight schedule for the opening.
“We’re maybe not going to be perfect from the very start – but we’re going to be great.”