Media Release for issue Saturday 13th August

Birks cinema campaign stepped up - 6 months left to 'complete the arts and culture triangle of Highland Perthshire'

The campaign to revive the Birks Cinema in the heart of Aberfeldy is being stepped up and a 6 month target to raise the remaining funds has been set. Local MSP John Swinney has helped launch the 6 month campaign today, August 13th, and said he was ‘really looking forward to seeing the state-of-the-art facility in the heart of the town and the impact it will have in stimulating wider economic, social and cultural development in the region.’

A series of appeals and applications to businesses, individuals, trusts and film industry figures is now underway. Local community group Friends of the Birks Cinema (FOBC) is now past the half way mark in its campaign to raise the £1.8m required to deliver a state-of-the-art modern cinema.

Birks cinema group Patron and Aberfeldy born actor Alan Cumming said today in support of the campaign: ‘It will be fantastic to see the old building brought back to life and up to date. It's now or never, with only six months to go create a new hub and 'complete the triangle' for arts and culture in the heart of Perthshire, alongside Pitlochry's Festival Theatre and Birnam's Arts Centre.’

Local MSP John Swinney said: ‘I am delighted to support Friends of the Birks Cinema and I commend the vision and energy of the local community members and Friends who are working together to make something happen. I am really looking forward to seeing the state-of-the-art facility in the heart of the town and the impact it will have in stimulating wider economic, social and cultural development in the region.’

Ron Inglis, Director of Regional Screen Scotland said: ‘The redevelopment of the Birks Cinema is a crucial part of our agency's aim of getting modern, high quality digital cinemas into smaller towns in Scotland. The Birks Cinema can become a wonderful example of how new digital media can be used to create a vibrant and successful cinema and cultural centre in rural areas. The Friends of the Birks Cinema have done a fantastic job to get the project to this stage and Regional Screen Scotland fully supports their efforts. I really look forward to enjoying films in the new venue and I'm sure it will be a terrific cultural and entertainment addition to Aberfeldy and Perthshire's facilities.’

FOBC has set out a range of ways for people to join in to support the cinema and have launched new Facebook and Twitter sites.

FOBC has raised over £1m so far. The group has bought the building, researched and produced a business plan and designed a complete refurbishment.

A campaign website shows how supporters can become a 'Friend' of the Birks and add their name to the list of more than 340 existing Friends. Individuals can make donations or even 'sponsor a seat' for £1000.

FOBC Chairperson Charlotte Flower said: ‘We're on the home straight now and any and all support is most welcome. A modern, hi-tech, state-of-the-art facility to rival any city equivalent will offer many benefits to Highland Perthshire as a region, not just to Aberfeldy. It will show the latest films in 3D to enjoy with family and friends, and be able to show live broadcast links of sports and cultural events from around the world. It will add significantly to the attractions of Aberfeldy as a tourist destination, and in turn will bring further economic opportunities.’

Local councillor Kate Howie said: ‘I have supported the work of the Friends of the Birks Cinema for the last three years and give my full support for the splendid work they all have been doing. The cinema is in the heart of Aberfeldy in the Square in an iconic building and could be such a positive boost to the town and the tourism of the area. They have had great support locally and I hope that in the coming months their target will be met. It is such a great project and I would encourage everyone to get behind them and make the cinema a reality.’

Local Councillor Ian Campbell said: ‘I am absolutely delighted to support this project. I know that all involved have worked really hard to bring this vision to fruition and they should be a real inspiration to other groups to keep fighting for their desired goal. When, and not ' if ', the vision becomes a reality both Aberfeldy and Highland Perthshire will have yet another first class asset to shout about. I am hoping it will also act as another major creative hub for the area. This kind of venture is so important for the cultural development of an area, as it gives impetus to many other individuals and groups to bring their own ideas and ventures to the fore, which can only enrich us all.’

Notes to editors

  1. Friends of the Birks Cinema is a registered charitable group of local people with over 340 registered Friends. It will also have a cafe bar and flexible spaces that can be used for community needs which cannot be met by other local community venues.
  2. Website address:
  3. The cinema will be open on Saturday 13th August from 10am. John Swinney MSP and others will be at the cinema at 11am for photocall and interview. FOBC members, supporters and some who used to work in the old cinema will also be present.
  4. For more information contact 07748 446 954