Venue saved

Woods and Timberlake get backing for cinema plan

Picture House and Tiger Woods
The New Picture House will be revived under changes by Tiger Woods, pictured, and Justin Timberlake

Golfer Tiger Woods and the singer Justin Timberlake will transform a historic Scottish cinema into an entertainment venue after getting final approval.

Fife Council gave the go-ahead for their plans to turn the New Picture House in St Andrews into a dining facility and retain two of the cinema’s three screens.

The pair’s company, T-Squared Social, will also continue to be known as the New Picture House.

The cinema has been running at under 10% occupancy and it is hoped the involvement of its celebrity buyers will help revive its fortunes.

Working with a team of architects and contractors much of the New Picture House, which is a listed building and dates from the 1930s, will remain the same. Any renovations and enhancements will be made to the interior, not the exterior, preserving and celebrating the building, including the name above the door.

Christopher Anand, managing partner for T-Squared Social said: “As a team, we listened to the residents of St. Andrews, and taking account of this increased the number of screens, including retaining the main auditorium.

“With our new entertainment concept, sitting alongside the cinema, this will ensure that a cinema offering can remain in the town for this and for generations to come.

“We look forward to continue to work with Fife Council and the local community as we seek to deliver our scheme.”

In addition, the development will deliver a significant economic investment in the town, with 40-50 staff employed, an increase on the current 10, who will also be given the opportunity to stay with the new venture.

One of the screens will be maintained in its present form (cinema 3), with improvements made to the seating and technology to improve the viewing experience. Current seating in Cinema 2 will be replaced with comfortable seat groupings, allowing people to socialise, with an area for electronic darts.

The main auditorium (cinema 1) will retain the large screen, still showing films, and as a multi-functional space will include a range of sports simulators including golf, rugby, lacrosse and football. The seating here will be entirely flexible, allowing the aspect of the seats to change depending on the use of the auditorium on a day-to-day basis.

The character of the auditorium is also being protected with existing ceiling, walls and stage features retained. Responding to the public the much-loved upper level of the cinema will be staying as it is today, with over 300 seats retained in the venue for cinema goers.

David Morris, the managing director for New Picture House, will stay and manage the transition to the new venture.

He commented: “It is fabulous to see the amazing support we have received from the community for these proposals, and to see them getting the green light from Fife Council. 

“The intervention by T-Squared not only allows a cinema offering to be retained for the town, but indeed the building itself. This is the right company, we felt, to maintain the family legacy that has been up for almost a century.”

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