Orkney’s MSP Liam McArthur has joined the campaign to save the beloved Screen Machine, a mobile cinema that has proved hugely popular during visits to Orkney and around the Highlands & Islands over the past 25 years.
Screen Machine provides communities with access to latest cinema releases and celebrates its twenty-fifth birthday this year. However, after its last permanent vehicle suffered a series of faults, the service has been relying on a rented mobile cinema for 2023-24. Ahead of the end of the lease in April, Regional Screen Scotland (who operate Screen Machine) are calling for £700,000 from the Scottish Government to allow a new vehicle to be commissioned. Without such funding, the service will be wound down.
In response, Liam McArthur has lodged a motion in the Scottish Parliament, praising the cultural value provided by Screen Machine and calling for the Scottish Government to work with Regional Screen Scotland to agree a way forward.
Commenting, Mr McArthur said:
“I remember very vividly my first experience of the Screen Machine out in Sanday. As we watched a showing of The Perfect Storm inside, an actual perfect storm raged outside, making it all feel remarkably real.
“But the Screen Machine is more than a simulator, it has played an important part in the cultural lives of those living in rural and island communities across our region for the past quarter of a century. It’s no surprise, therefore, that many constituents have been in touch to express concern at news the service may come to an end next year.
“Clearly budgets are tight at the moment. However, there is a risk that communities who struggle most with access to cultural facilities lose out most in the face of any cuts.
“That’s why I’m joining the campaign to urge Scottish Ministers to engage with Regional Screen Scotland to agree a way forward that can protect this important service. I’m sure it’s what George Clooney would want.”