Friends of the Scala Cinema and Arts Centre

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Prestatyn Scala Cinema

Hello and welcome to the official website of The Friends of the Scala Cinema and Arts Centre.

Together with the residents of Prestatyn and the town's neighbouring communities, and with the support of Prestatyn Town Council and Denbighshire County Council, we are dedicated to promoting and supporting our town's historic Scala Cinema and Arts Centre.

The original Scala Cinema, which opened during 1913, was sadly forced to close in December 2000, due to neglect and the high cost of much needed repairs. The Friends of the Scala have continued to work tirelessly since 2001, and are committed to ensuring the town, its residents and the welcome visitors to Prestatyn receive a quality, manageable and sustainable modern replacement cinema and theatre facility.

Construction of the new Scala commenced in February 2007 and it was completed in late 2008. When the Scala re-opened on Friday February 13th in 2009, its state of the art facilities began to help regenerate our town of Prestatyn, whilst also helping to increase employment and boost tourism. The new Scala Cinema will also provide much needed modern and comfortable facilities for a variety of community and volunteer groups.

Prestatyn's new Scala will provide a convenient and exciting digital cinema, the first in Wales, bringing the town's residents and visitors the very latest blockbuster films, quality exhibition facilities and an exciting theatre venue.

This website exists so that you can learn more about what we do, who we are, why the Scala is so important and how you can help us to preserve an important and vital part of Prestatyn's heritage. Thank you for visiting us.

Up to date news and developments concerning Prestatyn's Scala Cinema and the Friends of the Scala

This page contains our most recent news articles, keeping you up to date with the Friends of the Scala and news concerning the development of Prestatyn's Scala Cinema and Arts Centre. Previous news articles are available within our dedicated News Archive forum, where registered members are most welcome to add their thoughts, comments and feedback.

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Don't forget, you can read previous news articles and add your comments in our dedicated News Archive forum.

Keep up to date with our latest Tweets!

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  • View the latest film releases on a 'state of the art' high definition digital projection system.
  • Relax in luxurious seating for up to 150 people per screen.
  • Meet up with your friends in the licensed cafe/bar.
  • Full on-line booking is now available at the Scala Prestatyn website.

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Community Forums

Our community forums provide the perfect platform to share your memories of Prestatyn's much loved Scala Cinema or to discuss the new replacement Cinema, local community news and fundraising ideas:

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Interested in vintage photos, prints and maps of Prestatyn, Rhyl and neighboring towns? You can support the Friends of the Scala by purchasing direct from the Frith Collection available here. Thank you!

Scala Chronology


An expanded Scala Slideshow and Chronology with a larger text size version of this timeline is available here.

1872 - James 'Saronie' Roberts born in Liverpool.

1900 - July 26th. Prestatyn's Town Hall opened, owned by a solicitor Mr Ffoulkes Roberts who practiced at Denbigh.

1901 - Auditorium added.

1910 - James rented and began screening films at Prestatyn's Town Hall under the name of Saronie's Enterprises.

1910 - Roberts screened the funeral of late King Edward VII. His funeral procession is said to have been one of the the first occasions when colour news film, Kinemacolor, was used.

1912 - James Roberts changed his name to Saronie as he felt it was more impressive in his work as a cinematographer.

1913 - Saronie had taken over the Town Hall and renamed it the Scala Cinema.

1915 - May. Saronie showed the first colour film of Prestatyn at the Scala. He also showed films to the troops from Kinmel Park.

1930 - March. Saronie showed his first 'talkie' picture at the Scala Cinema. In the same year, Saronie modernised and enlarged the Cinema. Seating for 400 people was installed.

1933 - The monster movie King Kong had its North Wales premier at the Scala (pictured above) with queues extending halfway up the High Street.

1963 - Saronie ended his cinema career, selling the Scala to Prestatyn Urban District Council, later to become Prestatyn Town Council.

1964 - The Scala's fascia and arches were covered with the 'modern' blue and green frontage it still sports today and the building's clock tower was removed. The large window surrounds and brick archways were substantially destroyed.

1967 - June 16th. Saronie sadly passed away from a stroke at his home at 'Hillcourt', Mount Ida Road, Prestatyn. He is buried at Meliden Church.

2000 - December. Prestatyn's Scala Cinema was forced to close for safety reasons due to deteriorating structural condition, after screening its final film How the Grinch stole Christmas.

2001 - February. Public Meeting at the Nova. Agreed to set up a Scala Advisory Group with representation from all key interests in the community. The Advisory Group would provide a sounding board and a steer for the project. A revised application was submitted for Arts Lottery funding to carry out the Scala Feasibility Study and initial public consultations were carried out via questionnaire survey.

2001 - March. Friends of the Scala were set up to lobby councillors and get the cinema re-opened. First meeting of Scala Advisory Group and Arts Council for Wales award Lottery grant for Scala Feasibility Study.

2001 - May. Further deterioration of the structural condition of building was discovered. External scaffolding was required to support the main auditorium.

2001 - July. The structural condition of the auditorium continued to deteriorate. Decision eventually taken to demolish the auditorium. In November, a draft ‘Vision’ document for the new Scala was agreed by the Advisory Group and published for comments followed by a public meeting.

2003 - December. New twin screen cinema plans revealed, designed by London-based architects Burrel Foley Fischer. A community room, studio for theatre use, visual arts gallery, café bar and improved access for the disabled are included.

2003 - January. The Scala Advisory Group agreed to set up a charitable company to manage and operate the proposed new cinema. A second, more detailed study into the renovation proposals, was commissioned and cost in the region of £50,000 to look at how much money the Scala would be expected to make upon opening.

2004 - October. The Welsh Assembly Government awarded a cash boost for the project providing Denbighshire Council £200,000.

2005 - October. The long-running campaign was been boosted by the offer of a £1.5m grant by the Welsh Assembly Government's Physical Regeneration Fund, offered to Denbighshire County Council. The total cost of the regeneration scheme is now estimated to be around £3.5m.

2006 - May 25th. DCC issued a press statement stating they were moving forward with the next phase of four major projects including the Scala Cinema. Cllr Paul Marfleet, Lead Member for Finance said "the Scala Arts Centre project plays a pivotal role in the regeneration of the town."

2006 - September 19th. DCC issued a press release stating the people of Prestatyn have been given two months to prove that they can make the Scala work as a community project. Denbighshire County Council unanimously decided to give Prestatyn Town Council and residents until November to prove that they can take forward the project. Pending that decision, the allocation previously made for the project should be moved elsewhere. The decision came following a thorough debate on the Capital Plan in which nearly twenty members spoke and which resulted in the unanimous decision. Journal Press Article.

2006 - September. Sandra Pitt, Chairperson of Friends of the Scala thanked the Councillors who represent Prestatyn, for their support in our campaign to re-open the new Scala Cinema, Arts Centre, Live Theatre and Café Bar. She called community effort to assist in the fundraising and to show support for the new Scala. Street collections, supported by Prestatyn's Environmental Association and CoastFM Radio helped raise funding and awareness.

2006 October. Friends of the Scala and Prestatyn and District Environmental Association delivered voting forms to as many Prestatyn households as possible. Support was overwhelming.

2006 November 4th. Ann Jones AM collected the vote forms from the Friends of the Scala (see photo). The votes were taken by Ann Jones to be presented to Edwina Heart, Minister at the National Assembly.

2006 November. Friends of the Scala launched their official website to generate support and raise awareness online.

2006 November. At a private meeting, Prestatyn councillors unanimously pledged to contribute up to £1 million towards the Scala project. However, the move depended on whether Denbighshire County Council, at a crucial meeting on November 21, would choose to support the £3.4 million scheme. If they decided to scrap plans for the facility, then £1.5 million in Assembly grants would be lost. Read more.

2006 November. Friends of the Scala was successful in becoming an officially registered Charity.

2006 November 21st. Denbighshire County Council voted yes to the new Scala going ahead at their Cabinet meeting. Campaigning had finally paid off. Read the full DCC Press Statement. See who supported your Scala Cinema and Arts Centre.

2007 January 24th. DCC confirmed the Scala funding was finally fully secured and that construction work would start by March 2007.

2007 January. DCC confirmed that a contractor had been chosen. Dave Bellfield from R.L. Davies Ltd of Colwyn Bay, said: "We are delighted to have secured the contract to build the new Scala Cinema and Arts Centre, as we know how much this scheme means to the people of Prestatyn." Read more.

2007 February. Work commences on the new Prestatyn Scala Cinema!

2007 March 13th. Community call for Scala! Denbighshire County Council issue a press statement reporting local people are being given the opportunity to get involved with planning for its opening. Read more.

2008 September 22nd. Hand over from RL Davies (the contractor) to Denbighshire County Council took place on Monday the 22nd of September 2008.

2009 February 13th. Brand new Scala Cinema and Arts Centre opened to the public.

2010 November. Scala Cinema and Arts Centre won the 'Community Benefit' award at the RICS 2010 Awards.

2014 October. Scala Cinema and Arts Centre faces closure and launches the Save Our Scala campaign to raise funding of £97,000.

2015 8th January. Trust members of the Scala Cinema and Arts Centre confirmed that the venue is closed and will only re-open if funds are found.

2015 29th January. Denbighshire County Council confirmed that the Scala Board has agreed in principle to hand back the building's lease and the keys following a formal request from the Council's legal representatives and is now in a position to be able to seek serious expressions of interest from experienced operators to re-open the venue as soon as practically possible.

2015 5th March. Denbighshire and Prestatyn Town Council announced Aurora Leisure Ltd as the new leaseholders of the Scala, with the intention to have the building open by the beginning of April with a view to being fully operational by mid May (2015).

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