The Friends of the Birks Cinema was established in early 2006 by Charlotte Flower and two other members of the Heartland Film Society in Aberfeldy, to explore the possibility of restoring the Birks Cinema, a community-run arts hub with a 104 seat digital cinema and a café/bar.
The ‘Friends’ had support from the local community, as well as people from further afield and were delighted to have the actor Alan Cumming as its patron.
The original 470-seat Birks Cinema was thelocation for many first dates and family outings until the early 1980s when it was closed. Subsequently, until 2004, the bulding was used as an amusement arcade and was then put up for sale.
The Friends of the Birks bought the cinemaat the end of 2009 and raised funds to restore it for the benefit of the local community, and for visitors by creating a multi-purpose venue with cinema at its heart. As a result of their hard work and the extraordinary support they received from many members of the community, the cinema re-opened to the public in April 2013. The facility comprises a state-of-the-art 104 seat cinema which can be adapted for live performance (such as drama, concerts, exhibitions, talks) as well as a multi-purpose space for special events such as parties and community group activites. The programme of films and events is ddesigned to appeal to different interestsand age groups and has the capacity to recive live broadcasts from the National Theatre, Covent Garden, New York Met andother cultural and sporting venues around the world. The cinema’s Jelly Jar Cafe is open throughtout the dy and evening.
Having this facility in Aberfeldy provides direct economic benefits to the town in the form of jobs in the cinema and cafe and procurement of local goods and services. It has also helped indirectly by contributing to an increased footfall in the town and surrounding area. In addition to providing entertainment, it has provided interactive musical activities for pre-school children and their parents, special needs children and senior citizens.