Rhyl Journal: Lifeline for Prestatyn arts centre

A BIG money council bailout for the Scala Arts Centre in Prestatyn is being blamed on delays in building a shopping park in the town.

Rhiannon Hughes, chair of the Scala board, said that and the recession were the reasons why the Scala had failed to attract enough cinemagoers.

Now the centre, which lost £84,000 in its first year, is to get an £86,000 lifeline from Denbighshire County Council.

In return the council want seats on the Scala board along with a revised business plan to reduce the losses.

Cllr Hughes said that despite the losses everyone was positive about the Scala’s future but she conceded they were not where they wanted to be.

She said figures had been calculated on Marks and Spencer and Tesco opening close to the cinema but it had not happened and the Scala opened in the recession.

“But it isn’t about excuses. What Denbighshire has done now is make more money available to us in case we need it.

“As part of this support they have also put people onto the board to develop activities including daytime conferences and more corporate functions which we haven’t been able to develop. Everybody is very positive about it.”

“We have got to be grateful for the support Denbighshire County Council has given us. We want to get to the stage where there financial contribution is less.”

Cllr Hughes said the council decision to underwrite the Scala this year to £86,000 was based on the worst case scenario. The venue has received rave reviews, won scores of national awards and as well as screening the latest cinema releases has hosted a series of live events.

Cllr Hughes, who revealed The Scala would soon be able to screen 3D movies, said:

“It has helped to regenerate the town. We have people from Bangor and Chester coming over to see our live performances.

“I would urge local people who haven’t visited us yet to come and see for themselves what we have here.”

“We are carrying out a survey to see what people have enjoyed most during our first year of opening. The numbers are up this year on last year as we would hope. It is such a fantastic facility and I’m sure we can develop it further with the added support of Denbighshire officers on the board.”

Source: Rhyl Journal Published date: 01 June 2010 | Published by: Terry Canty