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

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

Rhyl Journal: Assembly cash set for Scala

A TOWN Centre attraction set to open later this year has received a new Assembly funding windfall.The revamped Scala Cinema and Arts Centre in High Street, Prestatyn, this week received an additional £101,000. The £3.4 million multi-purpose complex with two screens to show new films, capable of seating 150 people, live performance stage, conference and meeting facility, is expected to open this October.

The latest pledge of £101,000 will be used to assist the project with its third floor digital lab which will be used by local community groups and schools.

Vale of Clwyd AM Ann Jones said: “This additional grant of £101,000 will ensure the community involvement is maintained.”

Source: Article by Terry Canty Rhyl and Prestatyn Journal

Rhyl Journal: Scala’s golden days to return in Autumn

A TOWN centre attraction is on course to reopen later this year. The revamped Scala Cinema and Arts Centre in High Street, Prestatyn, is scheduled to be in use by the public in October, nearly eight years after the building was closed due to safety concerns.

The Scala is reopening as a £3.4million multi-purpose facility, with its two screens to show new films and capable of seating 150 people. It will have flexible use, such as live stage performances, conferences, trade fairs and meetings.

Cllr Julian Thompson Hill, of Denbighshire County Council’s cabinet, told Prestatyn Town Council that construction work is “going very well” and adverts are being placed for a general manager of the complex and other roles at the facility. He added:

“We are only a couple of weeks behind schedule due to weather issues. A lot of the structural work is done and the work should be done by May.”

The town council is planning to place a time capsule in the grounds of the centre for future generations to unearth as a reminder of the towns heritage.

Source: Article by Andrew Boyd (Rhyl and Prestatyn Journal)

Rhyl Journal: Scala on track to open August 2008

Management for the Scala Cinema and Arts Centre in Prestatyn have confirmed it is set to be completed by next summer, following the resurgence of the Ffrith Beach Festival Gardens.

Newly-appointed project manager Catrin Jones was joined by Paul Murphy, Denbighshire County Council’s head of tourism, heritage and culture, at Prestatyn Town Council last Wednesday, where they reiterated how the project is on course for competition.

Ms Jones, who has a background in consultancy, said:

“Our contractors, RL Davies, are on track to finish by May 2008 and we will open for business next August. There was a delay for a couple of weeks due to the weather but otherwise everything is fine.

“We are now recruiting directors who we hope will have the skills, knowledge and experience necessary to help us in our preparations.

“We are planning to have some meetings with people from cinemas similar to the Scala to help us know what the best practices are.”

The Scala is set to reopen as a £3.4million multi-purpose cinema and arts facility, with its two screens to show new films and capable of seating 150 people.

Its premises will allow for flexible use, such as live stage performances, conferences, trade fairs and large meetings.

The reopening of the Scala will bring to an end a long-running battle by campaigners to have the High Street facility back in action, having closed due to safety concerns in December 2000.

Nigel Acott, Prestatyn town clerk, expressed concern at the council’s limited involvement at project review meetings, despite having helped secure the necessary funding for the Scala to reopen.

Mr Murphy said:

“It is important this project works. If the town council is desperate for it to work then from a personal point of view I do not see a problem with that (council representatives attending), but that is for the project board to decide.”

Ms Jones agreed to attend future council meetings to help update councillors on the Scala’s progress. Anyone interested in becoming an unpaid member of the board of directors is asked to call her on 01824 706253 for application details.

Source: Rhyl Journal News Article

Rhyl Journal: Residents quizzed on Scala’s Future

PRESTATYN residents are to be quizzed for their views on plans to redevelop the town’s Scala into a new arts centre. Friends of the Scala action group will distribute questionnaires to every household in Prestatyn over the next week in an attempt to gauge how vital the project is considered to the town’s regeneration.

Once home to a cinema, The Scala, has lay derelict since 2000.

Plans for its transformation into a new arts centre have received the backing of Denbighshire County Council and the authority has begun attracting funding including a promise of £1.5million from the Welsh Assembly.

The project is believed to be at the centre of the sacking of Denbighshire’s finance boss, Paul Marfleet, who is understood to have recommended to Denbighshire Leader, Rhiannon Hughes, that the scheme be abandoned. The people of Prestatyn have been given until November to show their support for the new-look Scala.

Sandra Pitt, Chairperson of Friends of the Scala, said: “All we want to do is prove to Denbighshire County Council that the people of Prestatyn still want the Scala after six years.

“It is vital to the regeneration of the High Street and is a focal point that will bring businesses to the town.

“At the moment it looks an eyesore. It is a needed facility and when it was there it was our community centre.” Sandra explained the action group had received great levels of support from local people, whether it was adding their name to a petition, or like primary school pupil Ashley Dean Jones Bryan, who has organised his own sponsored walk. “Ashley decided to do this off his own bat because he wanted to go to the cinema and isn’t old enough to go into Rhyl. “He is typical of many people who are passionate about the Scala. “Prestatyn has sold off enough of its assets that’s why we must keep the Scala.”

Source: Rhyl Journal article