The public were given a final chance to look around a former Angus swimming pool on Saturday before a community cinema transformation.
Just weeks after Montrose Playhouse Project got their hands on the keys to the empty Mall building after sealing a £1 deal with Angus Council, the open day signalled the official launch of a crowdfunding campaign.
A crack team of local tradesmen and DIY enthusiasts have volunteered to help the team strip the building back to a shell before the renovations can commence.
A crowdfunding campaign to raise £15,000 was launched to cover the costs of equipment, materials and health and safety gear.
Residents and visitors were also given the chance to take a final tour of the building and see how the group’s plans will play out.
David Paton, chairman of the dedicated group behind the £2.5 million project, said: “We are humbled and excited about getting to this stage.
“Since we received the keys to the building a few weeks back things seem to have snowballed and momentum for the project as a whole and the strip out especially is really taking off.
“Our supporters are incredible and they really show that there is a need for this facility in the town.
“This stage 1 crowdfund campaign will help us raise money for the ‘DIY SOS’ strip-out to buy materials and hire equipment to help keep the 60-odd volunteers we have signed up safe during the event which starts mid-November.
“It’s great to see so many local tradesman, DIY enthusiasts and also general public offering help for this event, so we hope people from all round Angus and the area will get involved and donate.
“If everyone on our Facebook page pledged £5 then we would hit our target easily.”
The DIY SOS strip-out event will run over several weekends and a full week in December so volunteers can come and go as they are available.
Mr Paton said it was difficult to put a timescale on when the project would be completed as they are still building their case for larger grant funding.
He said: “But personally I have a goal of December 2019 so we can show Star Wars Episode 9.
“That gives us two years.
“But don’t hold me to that.”
Mr Paton said they were trying to get the message across that “the Playhouse is not just a cinema”.
He said: “We want people to know the full extent of the buildings facilities and the benefits it will have for the whole of Angus and lower Aberdeenshire.
“The facility will have the full range of cinema experiences such as 3D and live screenings but each screen will have a secondary use and we will also have multi-use rooms for community and conference space, exhibitions, classes and lots more.
“Our social impact statement focuses heavily on addressing issues in the area such as social isolation, mental health, engaging people with disabilities, boosting tourism, advancement of education and creating an environmental impact through urban re-generation. As a whole we hope the Playhouse will become an engine for social change and become the cultural heart of the area and bring in people to the town.”
The group is also holding its second outdoor cinema event in the pool car park at the rear of the building on Saturday October 21 with showings of the original Ghostbusters and Jaws at 6.30pm and 9pm respectively.
People can pledge by going to http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/montrose-playhouse-project-scio-diy-sos.