Aros Theatre and Cinema
‘What’s Going On’
As everyone is aware, since the Aros Centre closed on Friday the 20th of March there has been no cinema or theatre programming. All the staff have been on furlough and the venue has essentially been in lock-down.
However, during this period the Board of Aros have been meeting regularly, using Zoom, as we try to sustain staff, find ways to generate income and get ready for re-opening. As expressed by someone recently, we have faced three winter periods one on top of the other, and it is going to be a real challenge to kick-start our arts programming again.
You may know that it looks likely that theatres will re-open sometime in Phase 3 of the Scottish Government’s plan. We anticipate that to be around mid-August at the earliest, as the re-opening of schools on the 11th of August is also in Phase 3. There is a possibility that cinema could start in July including Live Cinema.
Whenever those dates are, there are going to be severe restrictions on the number of people that can attend shows. The venue capacity drops from 176 seats to around 40 if the two-meter distancing regulations continue. That makes it incredibly difficult to programme shows, as the revenue to pay artists will be reduced significantly.
Cinema and Live Cinema, while still challenging, can be screened earlier and our plans are to do so as quickly as possible. Whenever possible, we would start to screen pre-recorded shows from The National Theatre, Royal Opera House and other venues until such time as live shows are being presented again. And, there are a lot of good mainstream movies waiting to be released. As we will initially only be running cinema, we can focus on such and screen films on a regular, daily basis allowing patrons an opportunity to attend, when it suits them.
Whatever we do please rest assured that we will have the necessary precautions in place as advised by Government. All tickets will be sold on-line to avoid the need for contact within Aros and to avoid people being turned away, should we reach our capacity.
As you will understand the challenge for Aros going forward will be to keep going especially with another winter period around the corner.
So, what the Board have put in place, to help sustain the venue, is a complete refurbishment of our retail area. From the end of June, we will be opening a new grocery and delicatessen store with a focus on quality products, health foods and a strong emphasis on Scottish fare. We believe that this will create income throughout the year and help the venue survive the next nine months, until we start to see tourism picking up again. Aros does not get any funding from Creative Scotland and so we need to create revenue through the commercial operations to subsidise the arts programming.
Our restaurant will open around the 15th of July, again subject to Government regulations, and at that time most staff will start to come back to work, initially on a part-time basis.
As someone who is interested in the arts and cinema, we would appreciate your support through this difficult time, as would all other local businesses. If you can see your way to using our services that would be greatly appreciated. Why not come and discover for yourselves what the Aros retail operation looks like. We have loads of space for you to abide by the rules and stay warm if you need to wait for your turn to shop! From mid-July you will be able to have lunch again, or a coffee if you wish. Tha fàilte romhaibh anns an Aros: we look forward to welcoming you back.

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