Oban Phoenix closes leaving Scottish community without a cinema | News

Oban Phoenix Cinema

Oban Phoenix Cinema, a community-owned venue on the west coast of Scotland, has closed with immediate effect.

The cinema has attributed the closure to a marked decline in viewership and revenue due to the Covid pandemic, along with rising operating costs due to inflationary pressures. The cinema has ceased operations with immediate effect (June 3), with all eight employees dismissed.

For the Oban community, the nearest open cinemas are some distance away. Fort William’s Highland Cinema is 45 miles away, The Birks Cinema in Aberfeldy is 81 miles and Campbeltown Picture House is 90 miles.

A spokesperson for Oban Phoenix said: “Unfortunately, numbers have fallen further in recent months and it is with great sadness that we have had to close the cinema as it has become insolvent.”

The origins of the cinema on the site date back to the 1950s and were run by various operators until the Highland Cinema, which closed in 2010. In 2012, following an extensive fundraising campaign with the support of Judi Dench, the Oban Phoenix came into being, an independent, community-owned cinema and registered charity with two screens.

Oban has had a cinema since the 1930s.

Blair Milne and David Meldrum of accountancy firm Azets, who have been appointed joint provisional liquidators, are asking interested parties to get in touch in the hope of finding a buyer to revive the site as a cinema.

“Despite the extensive efforts of the board of directors, many volunteers and supporters, the financial difficulties faced by Oban Phoenix Cinema caused unsustainable cash flow problems and as such provisional liquidation was the only option,” Milne said.

“We will put the property and assets up for sale and seek to find a buyer who is keen to continue to operate a cinema on the site. We are hopeful that our urgent appeal for a buyer will appeal to a variety of interested parties, including existing cinema operators, an entrepreneur keen to enter the sector or a larger company willing to invest in an important and valued community asset.”