Scala Arts Centre

Link to French translationScala Arts Centre, 47 High Street

This is North Wales’ oldest one-screen cinema. It was opened in 1913 by James Roberts (1872-1967), who changed his name to Saronie in 1912 because he thought this had a suitably exotic ring for his pioneering cinema work.

He first started projecting moving images in Birkenhead, to astounded audiences. He rented Prestatyn’s town hall from c.1910 for similar shows. These became so popular that in 1913 he turned it into the Scala Cinema. He continued to innovate, showing the first colour film of Prestatyn at the Scala in 1915. The first film with soundtrack was projected here as early as 1930, the year the auditorium was enlarged to seat 400 people.

In the mid 20th century, cinema queues would sometimes stretch well up the High Street. Take a look inside at the murals depicting cinema queues from the past and present (just past the box office).

Rival entertainment, including films on television and video cassettes, took their toll on the cinema, which closed in 2000 after the opening of a multi-screen cinema in nearby Rhyl. However, local residents set up a charity and a company limited by guarantee to convert the run-down cinema into the Scala Arts Centre, which opened in February 2009. At its centre is the cinema, which was the first in Wales to become fully digital – capable of projecting from most digital sources including DVD and online files. The cinema uses a Barco DP1500 projector, linked to a Kodak JMN-3000 server. The cinema has two screens, with seating for 150 in each auditorium.

The arts centre is supported by an energetic body of volunteers, called Friends of the Scala. The Scala’s patron is actor Jonathan Pryce, who was born nearby. His credits include Hamlet with the Royal Court Theatre, and Juan Peron in the 1996 film Evita.

Where is this HiPoint?

Postcode: LL19 9AH

Website of Scala cinema

Website of Friends of the Scala

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