Thurso cinema, the northernmost in mainland Britain, to reopen

16 jobs will be created at the cinema. Picture: submitted

16 jobs will be created at the cinema. Picture: submitted

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THE curtains are set to rise again at the most northerly cinema in the British mainland, just two months after it looked to have closed for good.

Thurso Cinema will reopen later this month after an independent chain, Merlin Cinemas, stepped in.

The investment we have made in the facility over the years has helped create a cultural asset and community focal point, valued by residents and visitors alike.

Pete Guthrie

It means film buffs in the Highland town will be spared a 218-mile round trip to Inverness in order to see the latest releases.

There were fears the credits had rolled for the final time after HM Revenue and Customs presented a petition to Wick Sheriff Court in July asking the court to appoint a liquidator to wind up the business.

It was eventually mothballed in September by its then owner, Rob Arthur, a West Lothian-based businessman, with the loss of dozens of jobs.

Now, it has been taken over by Merlin, which specialises running small cinemas in rural areas such as Cornwall and Devon.

After taking over historic screens that were in dire straits, it has set about refurbishing them and installing the latest technology. Geoff Greaves, the chief executive of the Penzance-based firm, believes Thurso will be next line to benefit from its strategy.

He said: “We believe it fits our business model perfectly and we look forward to bringing the latest films to Thurso and getting this important local social amenity up and operational again.”

The £1.5m cinema, which features two screens and 250 seats, is scheduled to reopen on 14 November with showings of the new James Bond film, Spectre, and the final instalment of the popular Hunger Games series.

Confirmation that the cinema will once again welcome audiences has been welcomed by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), the regional investment body.

Pete Guthrie, the development agency’s head of strengthening communities in Caithness, said: “This is great news for the cinema and the people of the town. The investment we have made in the facility over the years has helped create a cultural asset and community focal point, valued by residents and visitors alike.

“The cinema is also important for local employment. We are delighted that Merlin Cinemas is taking it over and look forward to continuing relationship with them on building the business.”

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