Town Toolkit | Campbeltown Picture House
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Campbeltown Picture House

Campbeltown Picture House is a Category A listed building and one of the earliest surviving purpose-built cinemas in the UK with important historical and architectural significance.

Built during 1913, by the early 2000s the picture house had become so run-down that it was established that the only way to guarantee its future was a complete overhaul of the building. Campbeltown Community Business stepped in and ‘The Centenary Project’ was born.

“One of the core aims for renovation was to make the picture house a real hub and community space”, informs Ellen Mainwood, General Manager. “The cinema is so special because it feels so unlikely that it would exist in a place like this”.

The restored cinema reopened in 2017, with two screens, café, exhibition and community space, and educational facilities.

As well as screening films, the cinema hosts live satellite events showing theatre, dance and opera performances. It holds Silver Screen afternoons every Wednesday with discounted tickets for people over 60, as well as linking in with the town to hold one-off events throughout the year such as the Malts Festival in May.

In addition to providing a focus for community in the town, the reopened picture house has created career opportunities and training in a town where new jobs are not always readily available. It is owned by Campbeltown Community Business Ltd (CCB), a social enterprise committed to transforming the cinema into the principal cultural and entertainment venue for Kintyre.

The enterprise has been warmly embraced by the community, as a local member of the public expressed: “We love what they’ve done with the renovation, it’s a real asset to Campbeltown”.

The reopened cinema is part of a much bigger collaborative effort which made Campbeltown town centre “Scotland’s Most Improved Place” in the SURF Awards 2020, due to a combination of community-led regeneration and multimillion pound renovation projects. You can read more about the overall approach in Campbeltown on page 14 of the 2020 Awards booklet.

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