Rhyl Journal: Countdown to the reopening of Prestatyn’s Scala cinema

FINAL preparations are being made ahead of the re-opening of Prestatyn’s Scala cinema.

Rob Arthur, who runs Aurora Leisure Ltd – the new leaseholder of the venue – confirmed that his team were on target to reopen on Friday, July 3 and that a public meeting would be held “sometime” next week.

The cinema hopes to introduce 4k projectors and a new satellite for live events; equipment is set to be installed this week. A management team has been recruited and other staff will be hired.

Tickets for live events are already on sale – NT Live: Everyman on Thursday, July 16, Andre Rieu 2015 Maastricht Concert, July, Saturday 18 and the RSC: The Merchant of Venice on Wednesday, July 22.

Mr Arthur, previously the managing director of Apollo Cinemas, said: “We are working to open the cinema as quickly as possible.  We want to hold a public meeting. We have taken a lot of time with this because we need to get it right.”

Leaseholders have promised that residents and visitors to Prestatyn will see “plenty of activity” around the building this week.

A post on the Scala Cinema Prestatyn Facebook page reads: “This week we’re ramping everything up and moving from behind-the-scenes work to some real work.”

“Following the closure of the Scala, earlier in the year, key parts of the old projection equipment were removed from the cinema by the former operator. We took the decision to replace with more modern, reliable equipment that will be guaranteed and serviced by Sony over the next five years.”

“We will not be opening every part of the Scala initially, as we think it is important to meet and discuss the options for the future with the public before making definite plans.”

Councillor Paul Penlington, Prestatyn North, expressed he was pleased to hear about the imminent re-opening of the Scala.

“It has been a concerning few months but we’re very fortunate to have a state of the art facility on our high street during difficult economic times,” he said.

“My colleagues and I have worked closely with Denbighshire officers to find a tenant and credit is due to Rob Arthur who’s taken our comments on board and worked hard to ensure the Scala will reflect the needs of our community.

“Prestatyn councillors and Denbighshire County Council have developed a good working partnership to ensure Prestatyn is on the up.

“The Scala wil be a vital part of a range of attractions that will maintain and support our town centre, tourism and the wider community.”

Aurora Leisure was revealed as the new leaseholder of the Scala in March.

Mr Arthur, who was  born in Bathgate, added: “It is about listening to the customer and the community.”

Source: Rhyl Journal News Article 23.06.15

Rhyl Journal: New owner of Prestatyn cinema confirms that complex will keep its name

THE new leaseholders of a Prestatyn cinema have reassured residents that the complex will retain its former name.

Prestatyn's Scala Cinema (Credit: Rhyl Journal)
Prestatyn’s Scala Cinema (Credit: Rhyl Journal)

New managers Aurora Leisure Ltd, whose founder is Robert Arthur, confirmed the intention is to retain the Scala name and “make sure that its historic significance to the town is enhanced.”

The complex is expected to open towards the end of May or early June. Work has not yet begun on the building.

Mr Arthur, aged 46, said: “We have not started to work on the building as yet as the Scala Trust have only recently surrendered their lease, but there is lots going on behind the scenes. At present there are no fully functioning projection facilities and that is our immediate priority. Our film booker is working on live events and a programme and our technical team is working to deliver new and improved projectors and sound.”

Mr Arthur added that he wanted to put on screening at times that suited all sections of the community. Plans include a Kids’ Club, family tickets, matinees and occasional “late night horrors”.

“We want to be the place to meet in town for a film, events or a coffee, supporting other businesses on the High Street by being open throughout the day,” he commented.

“There is a lot we need to do including recruitment of a new team and developing food and drink offers in the lobby.”

A public meeting will be held prior to the opening.

Source: Rhyl Journal article 30.03.15 by Suzanne Jordan

Rhyl Journal: Legal advice sought over Prestatyn Scala’s unpaid ticket sales

Organisers of a St Asaph festival have sought legal advice over £13,000 in unpaid ticket sales.

Prestatyn Scala Cinema signage (Credit Rhyl Journal)
Prestatyn Scala Cinema signage (Credit Rhyl Journal)

The box office for the North Wales International Music Festival in St Asaph was run by the Scala Cinema in Prestatyn which closed its doors in January

Festival organisers claim the cinema has not handed over the thousands of pounds they collected on their behalf and are “determined” to recover monies owing to them.

Despite the dispute, this year’s event will go ahead. A concert launching the Festival will take place on September 20 while the festival itself runs from September 26 to October 3.

Sue Last, vice chair, said: “Naturally, we are extremely disappointed that the monies collected by the Scala has not been passed onto us. We are taking legal advice about the matter.”

“Denbighshire County Council have offered to give us a bridging loan if that is required as a temporary measure in the meantime.”

The programme for this year’s festival is being put together by Artistic Director Ann Atkinson. The festival was founded in 1972.

Ms Atkinson, a mezzo soprano, added: “The cathedral has a very special acoustic – the combination of the stone and the wood creates something really magical. Despite our difficulties, we are well on the way to putting together another excellent festival this year and we will be unveiling a stellar line up in the next couple of months.”

Denbighshire County Council confirmed that the loan was something that the authority was considering.

The spokesperson said: “We appreciate that the North Wales Music Festival is an important part of the cultural events calendar which attracts world class talent. We are in discussion with the organisers and considering their request.”

Trevor Harris, former owner of Oswestry’s Regal Cinema who expressed interest in taking on the Scala, commented:

“I feel there is something suspicious. It begs the questions what else do they owe?”

Rhiannon Hughes, former chair of the Scala Trust, said:

“The issues with the Music Festival are in the hands of our solicitors so it would not be appropriate to comment further.”

Source: Rhyl Journal news article 15 April 2015 by Suzanne Jordan

Rhyl Journal: New leaseholder has spoken about his vision for the cinema

The new leaseholder of a Prestatyn cinema has spoken about taking on a “community asset”.

Prestatyn Scala Cinema sign-age (Credit Rhyl Journal)
Prestatyn Scala Cinema sign-age (Credit Rhyl Journal)

Rob Arthur, aged 46, who runs Aurora Leisure Ltd, said he was aware there was a “high level of expectation”.

He promised to create jobs for people from the area and to hold a public meeting, prior to re-opening the doors of the Scala Cinema and Arts Centre.

Aurora Leisure was revealed as the new leaseholder of the Scala earlier this month.

Mr Arthur, who established the company in 2012, was previously the managing director of Apollo Cinemas, overseeing an estate of 14 cinemas and 83 screens, until its sale in 2012.

In 2012, Mr Arthur – who is married with two children – re-opened and established a digital cinema in Thurso, Scotland to support the development of digital cinema and in mid-2013, he was appointed as interim director of operations at Curzon Cinemas, a London independent and art house cinema group.

The Bathgate-born director said:

“We are holding a public meeting, definitely before we open. It is about listening to the customer and the community. I know there has been a real interest in how this works and when the Scala closed.”

“We want to make it affordable and we would like to keep the live events going. Jobs created will be for local people and we will be making as many as we possibly can. We understand that it is a community asset.”

Mr Arthur added that he hoped to re-open the cinema next month.

“We are saying late April – we want to get it right,” he commented.”

“I know there was a big meeting when people were trying to save the cinema. We would like to see all those people who attended then, at our public meeting. When we are closer to re-opening, a date for the meeting will be announced.”

Source: Rhyl Journal News Article 20.03.15 by Suzanne Jordan

DCC: Curtain set to rise on a bright new era for the Scala

Denbighshire and Prestatyn Town Council are delighted to announce the award winning, Aurora Leisure Ltd, as the new leaseholders of the Scala.

Aurora Leisure Ltd was established in 2012 by Rob Arthur, who has had extensive experience in the UK and International Cinema sector for the past 21 years with companies such as Vue Entertainment, SBC International Cinemas to senior executive and operational management levels.

Rob was Managing Director of Apollo Cinemas, overseeing an estate of 14 cinemas and 83 screens including Rhyl until its sale in 2012, and has extensive cinema opening and operating experience in Taiwan, Portugal, Romania, United Kingdom and Ireland as well as many other cinema and leisure development projects.

Denbighshire’s Cabinet Lead Member for Tourism and Leisure, Councillor Huw Jones, said:

“I am really pleased to welcome Aurora Leisure Ltd, under the expert guidance of Rob Arthur, to our county and more specifically to the Scala.”

“The company has a proven track record of turning around the fortunes of struggling community cinemas and providing exactly the community focussed facility we want to see coming here and thriving for the residents of Prestatyn and visitors from further afield.”

Aurora Leisure Ltd has re-opened and established a cinema in Thurso, Scotlands most northerly mainland town after a successful community campaign to support the development of digital cinema. It now screens up to 12 films or events per week from two screens, as well as operating a Bar & Kitchen and regularly hosting conferences and community events. The business currently employs 20 members of staff and has won several awards to date, including Scottish Edge and Screen International Awards.

The intention now is to have the building open by the beginning of April with a view to being fully operational by mid May.

Source: Denbighshire County Council Press Release 5th March 2015

Daily Post: Prestatyn’s Scala cinema set to reopen under new management

Scottish company Aurora Leisure named as preferred bidder to take over cinema, which closed in January after a long battle to try to save it

Prestatyn's Scala Cinema (Credit Daily Post - March 2015)
Prestatyn’s Scala Cinema (Credit Daily Post – March 2015)

A cinema closed in January after a long battle to try to save it is set to reopen under new management.

Denbighshire council has picked a preferred bidder to take over Prestatyn’s Scala, which closed last month amid a cash crisis.

Scottish company Aurora Leisure, which has experience of running community cinemas, could reopen the Scala as soon as April.

James Davies, councillor for Prestatyn East and Conservative candidate for Clwyd West, said: “It’s very good news because the Scala is a much valued community facility and the community, including myself, worked hard to get it built.

“We all know that it can be a success and, with a good business model operating, I’m convinced it will provide the cinema and arts facilities we all want.

“We’re all desperate for it to reopen as soon as possible.

“Aurora Leisure have a network of community cinemas, which is key.”

Rob Arthur, who runs Aurora Leisure and was previously managing director of Apollo Cinemas, has extensive experience in Taiwan, Portugal, Romania, the United Kingdom and Ireland.

Cllr Huw Jones, Denbighshire’s cabinet member for tourism and leisure, said: “I am really pleased to welcome Aurora Leisure Ltd, under the expert guidance of Rob Arthur, to our county and more specifically to the Scala.

“The company has a proven track record of turning around the fortunes of struggling community cinemas, and of providing exactly the community focussed facility we want to see coming here and thriving for the residents of Prestatyn and visitors from further afield.”

Aurora Leisure Ltd reopened a cinema in Thurso – the UK mainland’s most northerly town – after a successful community campaign to support the development of digital cinema.

It runs the cinema as well as conferences, community events, a bar and a kitchen, and has won several awards.

Aurora is also set to reopen one of the UK’s oldest cinemas, the Picture House in Campbelltown, which first opened in 1913.

Source: Daily Post News Article 05.03.15 by Josh Morris