Thurso cinema boss in ambitious new venture
Published 03 Jul 2015
Thurso Cinema boss Rob Arthur is in the throes of re-opening a complex in Wales as part of his company’s plans to run a chain throughout the UK.
Aurora Leisure Ltd has taken over the Scala Theatre in Prestatyn which has been closed since January after its operators ran into major financial difficulties.
Staff at Thurso are set to play a major part in Friday’s scheduled re-opening of the cinema in the North Wales town.
Aurora was established in 2012 when Mr Arthur opening Thurso Cinema at the site of the former All St@r Factory complex in Ormlie Road.
In the last three years, the cinema has been one of the major success stories of the Caithness economy, creating over 20 jobs and developing a successful bar and restaurant.
Mr Arthur, a former managing director of Apollo Cinemas, has plans to operate as number of cinemas across small towns in the UK with Prestatyn the company’s third along with Thurso and The Picture House in Campbeltown.
He said council officials in Prestatyn have been impressed with the success of Thurso’s complex which attracted 55,000 customers in 2014.
To emulate the success in the Welsh seaside resort (population 18,500), he has given his team in Thurso the task of getting the new venture off to a busy start.
“The Thurso team will be managing the box office, telephone and answering local enquiries,” he said.
“They are also setting up and administering staff recruitment, keeping the social media up to date and sorting out orders of drinks, popcorn and film materials.
“The Scala will be set up to run in the same way as Thurso and with the same prices.
“Our experiences in Thurso have been really well received in Prestatyn and there’s a keen interest to know more about Caithness from those who haven’t been, and positive discussions with those who have either worked or holidayed in Caithness.”
Mr Arthur plans to hold public meetings in Prestatyn in the same way he did in Thurso to find out what the community wants from its cinema.
“Our intention is to ensure the Scala is a welcoming, vibrant and exciting addition to the high-street, and is there to serve the community, providing exactly the kind of entertainment and facilities for as many groups as possible.
“That is why we want to hold these public meetings so that wer start off on the right foot from the word go.”
Denbighshire Council selected Aurora Leisure Ltd’s bid to operate The Scala Theatre primarily due to its success in Thurso. Its head of communications, leisure and marketing, Jamie Groves, hopes the company will achieve similar success in Prestatyn.
“We’re pleased to select Rob Arthur and Aurora Leisure Ltd as our new tenant and operator of the cinema and it has been great to work with him and learn more about his exciting plans for the venue.
“Judging by his notable success with similar ventures across Scotland, we are confident we will see the same success here in the Scala, which is a key asset for Prestatyn town centre and the local economy.”
Mayor of Prestatyn Bob Paterson said he has been impressed with the public interaction Mr Arthur has carried out prior to the opening of the cinema.
“Denbrighsire Council is looking forward to the opening of the cinema and welcomes the work that Rob is doing to engage with the community,” he said.
“The Scala has a key place in Prestatyn, and we hope that it will become a central part of its vibrant events programme and town attractions. We had the pleasure of meeting Rob recently and are confident the cinema is in good hands.”
-Source: Caithness Courier