Oban cinema prepares for curtain up

Oban's Phoenix Cinema

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People will be given a chance to take a look around Oban Phoenix Cinema on May 17.

No films will be shown on that date but the George Street venue will re-open between 10am and 4pm to allow cinemagoers to familiarise themselves with the new layout after a closure lasting more than five months.

On May 21, its official re-opening takes place when people will be welcomed back with a free screening of the Academy Award-winning Brave, a Disney Pixar classic.

Released in 2012 and set in the Highlands of medieval Scotland, it features the voices of Kelly MacDonald as lead character Princess Merida, Emma Thompson as Queen Elinor, Billy Connolly as King Fergus and stars Julie Walters, Robbie Coltrane and Kevin McKidd.

After the special screening, the independently-run cinema will then welcome people back initially on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

Among the first of the films coming to Oban is the eagerly-awaited and critically-acclaimed Nomadland starring Frances McDormand and directed by Chloe Zhao which tells the epic odyssey of a woman who loses her job and her home and joins the growing number of Americans living out of vans.

It scooped three major Oscars for best actress, best picture and best director and was nominated for three others including best adapted screenplay, cinematography and film editing.

For the children, Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway will also be debuting in Oban.

A series of films has been lined up for the summer, including blockbusters for autumn included the long-awaited No Time To Die, the final James Bond appearance by Daniel Craig due in October, by which time it is hoped the cinema can be back to full capacity.

Gary Brown, chairperson of the six-strong board at Oban Phoenix Cinema, said film fans are in for a treat with a new audio system having been introduced in screens one and two.

The lockdown had also provided a chance to re-examine the best seating layouts for people to help offer a more effective view of the screen in a post-Covid environment.

Mr Brown said the seat and carpets at the cinema had also been intensively deep-cleaned and the refreshments area improved.

He thanked all staff, volunteers and those who helped keep the cinema going, including Creative Scotland, Film Hub Scotland, BID4Oban and various other organisations.

‘The cinema is very important for the town and we have committed a lot of effort into it with our supporters and customers. It’s something we can all be very proud of and we are looking forward to a busy summer,’ he said.

The cinema’s website is https://www.obanphoenix.com/ and a new website www.obanphoenixondemand.com is also expected to go live soon.