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Historic Prescot Picture Palace seeks new operator


People who are interested in bringing the Prescot Picture Palace back in to use more than a century after it was first opened have until the end of this month to express an interest in operating the reopened cinema.

Ambitions to restore the 1912 venue are a central part of plans for a £3.1m heritage-led regeneration scheme within the Prescot High Street Heritage Action Zone.

Its original features include a landmark façade and barrel-ceilinged auditorium which survive intact, as do 120 of the original cinema seats which are still in situ at the Kemble Street building.

The current site has a 160-seat capacity, but under the funded restoration scheme, the balcony that was partly demolished in the 1980s could be reinstated, providing additional seating capacity.

The deadline for expressions of interest to run the newly reopened cinema is April 30.

John Sullivan, director of independent cinema consultants The Big Picture who have been brought on board by Knowsley Borough Council to help with the process, says: “We’ve already received numerous expressions of interest for this unique gem of a site, which offers such a historic opportunity to honour the legacy of the building while bringing it right into the 21st Century.

Above: The former Prescot Picture Palace. Top: Staff at the cinema during its heyday


“While previous experience of running a cinema is beneficial for applicants, the most important consideration is their vision to bring this part of the country’s cinema history back to life, and to create a sustainable business that will serve the Prescot community and beyond for generations to come.

“Cinemas can play a vital role in enhancing towns’ leisure and entertainment infrastructure, and for Prescot to host a true Picture Palace once more gives local residents the experience of immersing themselves in the latest cinema releases, while also honouring the town’s history and heritage.”

The Picture Palace closed in the 1950s and has since been home to a bingo hall, a carpet warehouse and a community church.

The cinema site forms a cornerstone of the council’s planned cultural and leisure town centre plans, complementing The Shakespeare North Playhouse which is due to open in 2022 when Knowsley hold the Liverpool City Region Borough of Culture title.

For more details or to submit expressions of interest in the Prescot Picture Palace project, visit www.the-bigpicture.com or email john.sullivan@the-bigpicture.com