DCC: Share your memories of the Scala

The Scala Cinema and Arts Centre Manager Chris Bond is calling on residents in the local community to put their Scala Cinema memories down on paper and bring them into the Scala so that they can form part of a Community exhibition which will look at the proud history of Cinema in the Town.

Chris said: “Now that we have the new centre we do not want to forget what has happened in Prestatyn over the last 100 years. We are applying for funding to establish a permanent exhibition of the history of Cinema and the Arts in Prestatyn and are asking residents to record all their memories and experiences and bring them into the Cinema. We would also welcome items of memorabilia and photographs which could form part of the exhibition”.

Sandra Pitt, who has been Chair of the Friends over the last 8 years and is a member of the Trust set up to run the Scala said:

“We now have a wonderful new building and feel very strongly that people who visit the building should also have an opportunity to find out about its glorious past. We are also hoping that a book recording the history of the Scala will soon be published.”

Anyone wanting to share their memories should contact Chris Bond, Centre Manager on (number expired).

From a news release issued by DCC on behalf of the Scala Trust, Prestatyn.

BBC: Big screen flickers back to life

A 90-year-old cinema is reopening its doors after a long-running community campaign.

The Scala in Prestatyn, Denbighshire, was forced to close in December 2000 under the weight of repair bills.

But its screens will come to life again on Friday, after £3.5m was spent turning it into an arts centre.

Among those attending the celebrations will be Pat Smith, who has waited eight years to use cinema tickets she won in a raffle.

“My granddaughter came home from school with some raffle tickets, which I bought. I won two tickets to admit me into the Scala cinema,” explained Mrs Smith.

“She kept saying to me ‘when are we going to the cinema – when will we go?’ and she is still waiting.”

Her original tickets were valid until 2001, but the theatre shut its doors before she had chance to use them.

Her granddaughter is now 16, but on this special occasion the new cinema says it will honour the old tickets.

The original Scala first opened in 1913, after taking over the town hall in Prestatyn and could hold 400 people in its 1940s heydays.

The new arts complex boasts two digital film screen theatres, each seating 150 people, an IT media centre, a cafe and bar.

‘Wow’ factor

The success of the project is also a tribute to dedicated members of the Prestatyn community who refused to accept that the Scala would stay shut.

“When they threatened the fact that it was going to be disposed of, the people of the town were in uproar,” recalled Sandra Pitt, chairperson of Friends of Scala.

“We decided to set up a small group to get it back, which is what we have done.

“We thought they would just do up the old cinema and we would have it safe again.

“But now we’ve got the ‘wow’ factor. It’s not just a cinema and theatre, there’s the IT media room, the cafe bar – it’s a fantastic facility for such a small town.

“We never even dreamt of having this.”

Pat Smith will finally get to use her eight-year old Scala tickets on Friday
Pat Smith will finally get to use her eight-year old Scala tickets on Friday

The whole project has been funded by the assembly government, the Arts Council for Wales, the Foundation for Sports and the Arts, the UK Film Council, and both the town and county council.

On Friday’s opening night, the cinema has decided to show the Oscar-nominated Disney animation Bolt, and it will also be showing the award-winning Slumdog Millionaire in its first week.

Of course, one of the first in the queue will be Mrs Smith, who is delighted to finally use her tickets won in the raffle.

“To see it close was devastating, and to see it open will be nice. People have fought hard to get it open, and we need to use it,” she added.

Source: View the original article with video interview at the BBC News website.

Rhyl Journal: A glimpse behind the scenes at Scala

THE wait is over for Prestatyn with the opening of the new look Scala Cinema and Arts Centre.

The Journal was given a backstage tour of the £3.5m arts mecca which opens this Friday and promises to bring not only popular and independent cinema to the Prestatyn but live theatre, streamed events, and music.

General Manager Chris Bond:

“It is an absolutely amazing facility. From the front you see this small building and it isn’t until you come inside that you realise it opens out.” The new building features a large reception/box office area with tourist information point, one 160 seat cinema auditorium, one adaptable cinema/theatre auditorium, dressing room/green area, licensed cafe bar, two dedicated meeting rooms, one impromptu meeting area, plus multi-media rooftop education facility.

It’s a major achievement on the part of the architects/ designers (London-based architects and urban designers Burrell Foley Fischer LLP)to get not only one screen but two plus a generous-sized cafe bar on the same space occupied by the old Scala site.,” explained interim general manager Peter McDermott.

The state of the art building replaces the original Scala, opened during 1913, and eventually forced to close in December 2000, due to the high cost of repairs needed. After years of wrangles and delays and after a concerted effort by campaigners construction of the new Scala began on February 2007.

The hope is that the new Scala will help regeneration and attract tourists to the resort town. But for its new General Manager the building with its contemporary styling and city vibe is simply: “a special place for the community”.

Mr Bond, who describes himself as being involved with the theatre “all his life” including serving with the RSC, Repertory Theatre as well as in television with Granada and the BBC, said: “I see it as being a real community venue. It is a really diverse space. We have a wonderful cinema, plus a cinema and live theatre space, plus an amazing cafe bar where local people can meet and chat.

Mr Bond revealed his plans for the venue and hinted at what events the new look Scala could soon become synonymous with. “We need to make sure we always have something on that appeals to the people of Prestatyn. “As well as modern popular films we hope to bring Welsh language films, classic movies, live theatre, jazz nights and band evenings. Anything and everything. We need to make sure that we have something for everyone.”

Source: Rhyl Journal – Published Date: 11 February 2009

Daily Post: Prestatyn cinema history book

A Prestatyn historian has documented the rise of a local cinema which has grown into Wales’ first all-digital venue.

The £3.5m Scala Cinema and Arts Centre opens its doors on Friday, February 13. To mark the occasion, historian Fred Hobbs has published a book that delves into the building’s past and its rise from the ashes.

The original Scala Cinema was forced to close in December 2000 due to neglect and the high cost of maintenance.

The Friends of the Scala worked tirelessly to save it from 2001.

Memories from its heyday feature in the book along with material from the archives.

It will go on sale to raise money for cinema volunteers to buy uniforms.

People who offer donations of £5 can have their names added to the book.

More information, call 01745 888154 or 07886 754871 or send a cheque payable to Friends of the Scala to 301 Victoria Road, Prestatyn, LL19 7UT.

Source: Daily Post

Rhyl Journal: Scala Ready for the Show

It’s lights, camera, action for Prestatyn’s newest attraction after eight years of rows, delays and funding problems.

The new Scala cinema and arts centre finally premieres on Friday, February 13 with a stellar line-up of Oscar-tipped blockbuster movies.

Its opening brings to an end eight years of strife since the closure of the much-loved venue and heralds a victory for campaigners and its champion councillor and former Denbighshire County Council Leader Rhiannon Hughes.

She said: “It has been the hardest fight I’ve ever had.”

Cllr Hughes pledged to campaigners that she would work to develop a new Scala after its closure in 2001

“I remember there being 300 people in The Nova and I almost made a promise that we would do it. I always saw The Scala as a regeneration project for Prestatyn High Street.”

Cllr Hughes praised the role of council officers and the community during the past eight years with many establishing campaign groups, joining working groups and now making up the many volunteers who will staff the centre.

“It has been local people showing their commitment to the town. And from day one everyone has worked together. Some people have put their neck on the line for this.

“I’m so pleased that we now have a state-of-the-art centre that has been designed by the community and is now owned by the community.”

The Scala features two 150 seat cinemas, with retractable seating, pioneering digital projection unit, media education centre for would-be filmmakers and cafe bar.

As well as being home to the latest blockbuster movies, The Scala will showcase live theatre and, thanks to its digital projector, be able to screen live events from Wales Millennium Centre and sporting events including rugby and boxing.

Sandra Pitt, chairwoman of Friends of the Scala campaign group, which along with preserving the memory of the old Scala has worked hard to keep dreams of The new Scala alive, said:

“The people of the town, backed by the town council have fought long and hard for this fantastic new venue.

“At last we have a place where we can meet up with friends have a drink and watch a film, and all in an up-to-date venue,what more could you ask for, a really good night out.

The youngsters can use their pocket money and watch a film instead of having to hang around the streets in the cold.

We should not forget the fact that we are a seaside resort, and hopefully the weather will be better this year, but no doubt we will have rainy days.

Now there will be somewhere to entertain the families that are staying here. It’s a long hard winter for our shops, and hopefully they will gain by a new influx of people coming into the town, and also encourage new businesses into our friendly popular little town.”

We must not forget the users of the old Scala, people like the local theatre groups, eg TIC, church and schools, they will be in a position to take advantage of our new Scala.”

Source: Rhyl Journal News Article published 04.02.2009