Montrose Playhouse Project


The project began as a simple regeneration idea for a community cinema and has developed, through market research and community consultation into a plan for a multi-dimensional facility which will act as an engine for social change in the community. The existing building, was constructed in 1932 and lay empty since 2012. The founder and Architect of Montrose Playhouse Project is passionate about re-using historical buildings where possible, re-designed the building to bring cinema back to the town. Many locals have fond memories of the original Playhouse which was an important part of the Montrose community in its 45 year lifespan and is one of the inspirations behind the project. Local volunteers stripped out the building to a shell prior to commencement of the conversion works.

Scope of Works

The project has transformed a derelict former swimming pool in the town centre of Montrose into a community hub for arts and education benefitting north Angus and lower Aberdeenshire. 

The playhouse includes an adaptable three screen cinema, education and exhibition spaces, retail space and café bar. 

Works comprise:

  • Remainder of strip out works i.e.  asbestos ceiling tiles to pool hall; Ventilation Ducts in Ceiling; Diving Board Structure (substantial concrete and steel cantilevered structure); Services on Roof; Scrap Metal – (Copper, Steel etc); Basement Dig Out ready for a new concrete floor to be laid; Basement – two areas of brick concrete build ups that require removed or taken down to floor level;
  • Builder Work  – below ground drainage; concrete foundations; concrete floor slabs; solid concrete floor slab over existing pool; blockwork partitions; forming dormer openings in concrete roof for projector rooms, precast concrete stairs; forming new openings in existing walls/floors/roof; building up existing openings;
  • Joiner work: all work to structural floors; chipboard flooring throughout and to new auditoria floor; cavity barriers; timber framing and OSB/plywood coverings to existing roof; new canopy roof & new canopy soffit; framing/insulation/plasterboard to existing openings; plasterbroard to internal wall linings; framing & cladding to external chimney; internal & external doors; new windows; staircases and all components/handrails; internal skirtings/door facings/door stops/windows sills;
  • Structural Steel Work i.e. steel infill to the existing swimming pool;
  • Mechanical and Heating Works
  • Contractor Design element including BMS, ventilation; above ground drainage; hot & cold water supply; sanitary ware; gutters & downpipes;
  • Contractor Design Electrical Work including collaboration with Arts Alliance Media to position sound and light and all other electrical equipment required for each cinema screen, fire, alarm and emergency lighting;
  • Fixture and Fittings  including all fixed seating, shelving, counters, units, toilet cubicles, vanity units etc; roofing, render, decoration and floor finishes.

Community Engagement

We worked with the Client and all six primary schools in Montrose in the running of a poster design competition.  The children were invited to design a poster of their favourite movie.  We received 350 entries with 2 no. winners, from P1-3 and P4-7.  The runners up and winning posters are displayed on site, and they will also be attending one of the opening nights along with their family.

During the month of March 2021, we held an Easter egg appeal across our sites.  A total of 277 Easter eggs were donated to local foodbanks across our operating regions.  Our collection from this project was donated to Montrose Community Trust.  The purpose of our appeal/donation was to bring some Easter cheer to families and children in the local areas who are struggling most, many are suffering from financial stress and deprivation more than ever due to the pandemic. 

Bancon, alongside the Events Manager for MPP, participated in a podcast on community led tourism discussing opportunities BCL provided to local businesses and people throughout the project.  The podcast was led by Senscot, a membership organisation that acts as the umbrella body for social enterprise networks in Scotland.

The Outcome

The new Playhouse, will be a prominent, distinctive facility in Angus for social and cultural events which will enable audiences and participants to see, experience, learn and create in a safe and welcoming environment.  With three adaptable cinema screens, two flexible activity rooms, a modern comfortable café bar, education, exhibition spaces and retail spaces, together with a packed programme of events, workshops, classes and activities aimed at all ages and abilities.

The new facilities re-invigorate the town centre, will encourage an increase in tourism and support new and existing businesses by bringing much needed footfall into the area; create a vibrant, sustainable asset to the entire community of Montrose and beyond which will utilise combined knowledge, skills and experiences to ensure that The Playhouse develops and continues to grow, bring people, community groups and businesses together to effect and realise positive change within the community of Montrose.

Find out more about Montrose Playhouse Project:

Montrose Playhouse Project Case Study

Key Information

"The Playhouse team would like to thank you all very much for all the work and effort to date on the building. We had a tour yesterday with the team and everyone is really impressed with the progress - as am I. The teams you have on site are working great together and they are all very helpful - things are moving at a good pace for us."
David Paton, Montrose Playhouse Project