Cinema all set for a major refurbishment

Hollywood Plaza  gv.130102 Richard Ponter
Hollywood Plaza gv.130102 Richard Ponter

Scarborough’s Hollywood Plaza is set to benefit from a major programme of investment and refurbishment - starting with £35,000 worth of digital projection equipment.

The two-screen venue in North Marine Road, which seats 275 people, is now Scarborough’s main choice for cinemagoers following the closure of the Futurist.

Barrie Stead and Andrew Nesbit, who ran the Futurist, say they are now ploughing all their efforts into making the Plaza a top-class cinema.

Mr Stead explained: “The Plaza will continue 100 per cent. We’re currently starting a process of modernisation, as we want to make the venue more attractive and more comfortable.

“We’re spending £35,000 on a new digital projection and sound system, as 35mm film is disappearing.”

He added that following the closure of the Futurist, he and his wife Brenda were looking upon bringing the Plaza up to standard as their “new challenge”.

Manager Andrew Nesbit says he is also excited about the new possibilies for a new and improved Plaza.

He said: “Already £35,000 has been spent, but it will end up being more. We’re looking at improving the seating, laying new carpets and having a complete redecoration carried out.

“We’re also looking at improving the frontage and we’re having quotes done all the time.

“The place is set for a makeover, which will happen gradually starting this week.

“We want to overhaul the whole place, but it won’t happen overnight. Going from 35mm to digital is the first step.”

Mr Nesbit said he had been saddened by what had happened with the Futurist, but added: “One thing finishes and another one starts. This is a new challenge.”

He explained that the last films on 35mm will be The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug on Saturday night and kids’ film Frozen on Sunday as a matinee.

The cinema will then close for two and a half days as the new equipment is installed.

Then on Wednesday, it will reopen for a two-day special of Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues followed by the opening of the new Sylvester Stallone film Grudge Match.

Mr Nesbit said: “I’m looking forward to it. The Plaza was the first cinema in Scarborough to have surround sound when it opened in 1997 and I think people will definitely notice a big improvement with the digital sound.”

He added: “It’s strange that the Hobbit was the last film at the Futurist and it’ll be the last night showing on 35mm at the Plaza.”

Speaking about the Futurist, Mr Nesbit said: “It was the end of an era really and the end of our 12-year run.

“It’s always sad when things close that people like and love, but we went out with a good film and knowing that we’ve brought enjoyment to people’s lives.

“We’ve had some good times there and we had lots of well wishers come and speak to us, which was really nice.”

• See page 19 for more news about the Futurist. Money has been set aside by Scarborough Council should an operator come forward to run the under-threat Futurist, as thoughts now turn to the long-term future of the theatre.

The council announced that it had put aside £60,000 in its draft budget for the next financial year should an operator be found.

Council leader Tom Fox told the council’s cabinet meeting on Tuesday that the money was there.