A Perthshire cinema could be facing closure due to a “perfect storm” of challenges including online streaming, the cost-of-living crisis – and even the good weather.
The Birks Cinema, which is also a community hub, says it has seen a drop in admissions since the Covid pandemic.
A major fundraiser has now been launched, hoping to collect £25,000 to help secure the short-term future of the 104-seat picture house.
It comes just three years after the cinema relaunched, with the help of Hollywood star Alan Cumming, following a previous fundraising campaign.
‘Glorious weather’ impacting on The Birks Cinema
Brett DeWoody, acting chair of The Birks Cinema Trust, said: “Like many local and national, The Birks Cinema is facing a perfect storm of difficult conditions.
“Compounding this situation is the growth in streaming platforms such as Netflix – it’s never been easier to watch films at home.
“The drop in admissions has a follow-on effect that means we sell less classic cinema snacks and drinks.
“We’re also experiencing higher than expected operation costs – electricity, food supplies and labour.
“Customers are watching their own spending more closely, too.
“Fuelling this storm is this glorious weather, which is absolutely wonderful for being outside, but not conducive to getting people into cinemas.”
The cinema also provides a range of services for locals.
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Brett said: “Closing The Birks would mean the loss of a vital community asset and entertainment venue.
“The name is a bit misleading – a remnant from 1939 when the building was constructed.
“These days, cinema is just part of what The Birks has to offer, and the community would be losing a lot more.
“Each week The Birks Cinema hosts a range of community activities including yoga for children with additional support needs and acoustic music nights.
“The cafe-bar is also a vibrant gathering place for connecting with friends.”
So far, the fundraiser has received about three-quarters of its target.
Birks Cinema ‘overwhelmed’ by support
Brett added: “We’ve been quite overwhelmed with the level of support.
“It’s really reaffirming and quite moving to realise how important and much-loved The Birks Cinema is by so many people.
“In addition to donations, community members have stepped up to volunteer their time and expertise, which is also a huge boost.
“We’ve weathered the storm before, through Covid when our community got behind us, and we know we can do it again.”