Unique community moviehouse to open in Plean

A yearlong partnership between Macrobert Arts Centre, Stirling Council and the people of Plean will see a new, fully DCI compliant cinema – Macrobert Moviehouse - open right in the heart of Plean.

Picture of cinema tickets
Cinema tickets

The unique community cinema, based at the Balfour Community Centre, will show the latest film releases, bringing a full cinema experience right to the doorstep of the local community in the former mining village.

The planning, approach and the project management was made possible through Screen Scotland’s Recovery Fund for Independent Cinemas, backed by the Scottish Government.

The cinema programme will share content with that of Macrobert Arts Centre's own University of Stirling-based cinema, as well as regular film selections from the local programming groups, created as part of the project.

Community-selected films will also be among the titles shown over Moviehouse’s opening weekend Thursday 5 October to Sunday 8 October.

There will be a soft opening of the cinema from Thursday 28 September for staff, friends and members of the community who have helped realise this project.

The Macrobert Moviehouse will operate on a part-time basis, screening films on Thursday and Friday evenings and all-day Saturday and Sunday.

Compact in size, the cinema houses twenty seats, with tickets available on a Pay What You Choose basis (the same as Macrobert’s own pricing structure), with prices starting from £4.50.

This project has been made possible through an award from Screen Scotland’s Cinema Recovery Fund and Macrobert Arts Centre’s own investment. Stirling Council is also supporting by allowing the cinema to operate in the Balfour Community Centre in kind.

The cinema would not have been possible without the generous support of the community in Plean and the village’s community trust, Plean’s Voice, who welcomed and shaped the idea Macrobert proposed with warmth and enthusiasm.

Really special

Julie Ellen, Artistic Director of Macrobert Arts Centre said: “Right from the start the people of Plean have been so positive and keen for something special to happen for the area they live in and love.

"Many locals have stories of all the things that used to happen at the Balfour Centre and how sorry they are that it has been so underused in recent years.

"The pandemic highlighted the challenges of life in Stirling’s eastern villages including the high cost of public transport, limited access to shops and social activities but also galvanised some wonderful local people into action with food distribution projects, Stay and Play events and other important social activities.

"Macrobert has delivered creative projects in this area many times over the years but this one is really special, a genuine partnership with some inspiring people. We have made many new friends, and Plean is so dear to our hearts now that we cannot wait to see the Moviehouse open.”

Enjoyed for years to come

Screen Scotland’s Katharine Simpson said: “It is fantastic to see Macrobert’s community cinema project in Plean come to fruition. We are glad to have been able to assist with funding for the research and development which contributed to this through the Scottish Government’s Covid Recovery Fund for Independent Cinemas.

"We hope that this will enable more audiences to access Macrobert’s excellent film programme, get involved in choosing their own films and events, and together create a local cinema that is enjoyed for years to come by the people of Plean. Congratulations to all involved.”

Exciting project

Cllr Gerry McGarvey, Convener of Stirling Council's Community Wellbeing and Housing Committee, said: "We are delighted to be at the forefront of this exciting project with our partners at Macrobert Arts Centre and Plean’s Voice.

"Allowing local people access to the big cinema screen experience so close at home in the Balfour Centre will be a real asset to Plean and its surrounding communities.

"Our Community Development Team have played a pivotal role in bringing this plan to life and I know they will provide ongoing support and guidance to make this programme a huge success.”

Huge boost

Robert McWilliam, Chair, Plean’s Voice said: “Plean’s Voice was still in development when we first heard about the Macrobert Moviehouse project but we knew from the outset that we were going to make this a success for Plean and the Eastern Villages.

"After the early hard work by Macrobert and Stirling Council, we were delighted to be invited to help with the ongoing planning and running of the project.

"We are already looking at the future and how to fund and manage the project in the long term. Macrobert Moviehouse will be a huge boost to the Plean revival, bringing additional social activity for people of all ages as well as employment opportunities. There will be hard work ahead but we believe that Plean can do it.”

The cinema will be managed on by Macrobert's Community Venue and Film Manager, Frida Runnkvist, who will be joined at the Balfour Centre in by a team mainly recruited from the local community of Plean. Macrobert, is proud to be a Living Wage Scotland employer, and is delighted to be able to create meaningful work and training opportunities for local people.