Group bringing magic of movies back to Kelso

Kelso Community Cinema group volunteers, from left, Eleanor Wood, Peter Cooper and Verity Mutch.
Kelso Community Cinema group volunteers, from left, Eleanor Wood, Peter Cooper and Verity Mutch.

The silver screen is returning to Kelso this week as part of a pilot project aimed at bringing monthly showings of new films back for good.

Organisers are bringing the magic of movies back to the Tait Hall after the curtain went down on a previous project in March.

The Kelso Community Cinema group, formed in June 2016, was responsible for the public consultation that originally brought back a picture-house to the town.

Live Borders, the trust responsible for the running of the region’s libraries and sport and community venues, including the Tait Hall, got on board and held a first screening in August last year.

However, seven months later, the plug was pulled on the project, so the voluntatary group reformed in a bid to save townsfolk a 34-mile round trip to Galashiels to see films on the big screen.

Group secretary Eleanor Wood said: “Once we knew for certain that Live Borders had pulled out, we got together again and saw it had the potential to be a success.

“We’ve worked our socks off and have pulled out all the stops to get to this point.

“There are considerable start-up costs which we are having to meet.

“Public liability insurance is going to cost us, and until we are given charity status, we won’t be receiving any of the additional help that will bring.

“We want to be self-sufficient, and the long-term aim is to be showing one-off classics and having special screenings in between the monthly events.

“It’s a pilot over the four months, and if it’s not supported or financially viable, it will stop, but we very much want it to be for the community, and going forward, profits will go back into the community.”

A core team of 10 volunteers is looking for more people to get involved and is hoping new members, in particular youngsters, can offer ideas for one-off screenings.

In the meantime, four monthly screenings, showing a total of eight films, have been lined up between now and Christmas.

The group must sell 180 tickets a month to break even, but with the hall’s raised seats alone capable of holding 220, it is hoping for bigger attendances to secure the future of the project.

Indy Cinema Group, a mobile screening company bringing mainstream movies to rural communities, will cover the financial risk for the first screenings, but after that, the buck will stop with the Kelso team.

“It’s going to be make or break for us between now and Christmas,” group chairman Peter Cooper added.

“If we do not get volunteers and plenty of support, then it will go kaput.”

Any businesses, groups or individuals able to help financially or by volunteering can contact Peter by emailing: petercooper44@btinternet.com

The first screening takes place tomorrow.

Kelso Laddie Craig Logan will officially open the children’s film The Nut Job 2 at 5.30pm, and it will be followed by Dunkirk, starring Borders actor Jack Lowden, at 8pm.

Tickets, costing £6.50 and £5 for concessions, are available on the door.