CROWDS of local residents gathered in Aberfeldy on Saturday night to welcome Hollywood actor, and patron of The Birks Cinema, Alan Cumming, who had flown in to Scotland from filming the latest episodes of hit US TV series, The Good Wife, to attend a red carpet event to mark the cinema’s official opening.
The former derelict bingo hall at the heart of the town lay empty for almost ten years and was bought by The Friends of The Birks Cinema, a charitable organization formed by the local community with the intent to transform the building into a modern cinema, restaurant and café bar.
Coming on board as Patron of The Birks Cinema in 2009, Alan Cumming has lent his considerable support to the regeneration, which saw the local community raise sufficient funding to bring the building back to life.
Staying at the recently opened five-star Fonab Castle Hotel in Pitlochry, Alan and his family enjoyed a relaxing afternoon amidst the stunning scenery of Highland Perthshire before heading to the red carpet event later that evening.
Accompanied on the evening by his husband Grant Shaffer, a well-known graphic artist and illustrator, Scotland’s Machar and playwright Liz Lochhead, and veteran Scottish actor Ralph Riach, Alan’s arrival in Aberfeldy brought a touch of Hollywood glamour to his place of birth.
The cinema’s supporters and funders gathered in formal black tie to celebrate with the star, including the project’s award winning architect, Robin Baker of Robin Baker Architects, whose work on the regeneration has earned a place on the shortlist for Scotland’s Building of the Year 2014.
Also joining the star on the red carpet was Charlotte Flower, a local chocolatier and a driving force behind the highly successful fundraising campaign.
General manager of The Birks Cinema, Paul Foley, commented:
“We were delighted to welcome Alan Cumming to The Birks Cinema in Aberfeldy. It was the perfect way to mark a very important year for the cinema and it was marvelous to have his support and influence in helping to put the cinema firmly on the map.”
For more information on The Birks Cinema please visit www.birkscinema.co.uk
For further information on The Birks Cinema please contact Tricia Fox on 07989 955039 or firstname.lastname@example.org
NOTES TO EDITORS
• 1939, July 3: The original 470-seat Birks Cinema opens.
• 1982: The Birks Cinema closes and is transformed into an amusement hall.
• 2004: Amusement hall closes with the building lying dormant since.
• 2006: Charlotte Flower and two others formed ‘Friends of the Birks Cinema’ (FoTBC) after noticing that the cinema was up for sale. As of 2013, there are some 450 members.
• 2006 – 2009: FoTBC raise funds to carry out preliminary work such as a feasibility study and preliminary architectural plans.
• 2009, June: FoTBC’s application to the Scottish Town Centre Regeneration Fund is successful. FoTBC immediately purchase and weatherproof the building and commission a design team.
• 2009, June: FoTBC become a company limited by guarantee, registering as a charity in late 2009.
• 2009, September: Alan Cumming becomes Patron of FoTBC.
• 2010: Fundraising continues throughout the year with FoTBC approaching trusts, funds and local businesses for support.
• 2011, May: Scotland Rural Development Programme awards the project £658, 520.
• 2012, January: Big Lottery grant of £539,950 is announced, just in time before the offer from SRDP expired on January 31st.
• 2012, April: Hadden Construction begins renovation works on The Birks Cinema.
• 2012, July: Trading company, ‘The Birks Cinema’, is created. The trading company will run the business for FoTBC.
• 2012, December: General manager of The Birks Cinema, Paul Foley is appointed.
• 2013, April: Construction work is completed and the keys are handed over from Scott Hadden, chair of Hadden Construction to Paul Foley, general manager of The Birks Cinema.
• 2013, 19th April: The Golden Ticket event is held.
• 2013, 20th April: The Birks Cinema opens to the public.
• 2013, 30th November: Gala Event for mark Official Opening, attended by Alan Cumming OBE, Liz Lochhead and Ralph Riach.
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