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- Category: B
- Date Added: 20/03/1991
- Local Authority: Perth And Kinross
- Planning Authority: Perth And Kinross
- Burgh: Perth
National Grid Reference
- NGR: NO 11609 23794
- Coordinates: 311609, 723794
A Cattanach of Kingussie, 1933, with T B Gibson as consultant, for Caledonian Associated Cinemas. Large Art Deco Cinema with shops at ground floor. Red brick with marble clad shopfronts and tower, now painted, retaining original canopy and metal-framed glazing, and interior decorative elements. Facade: recessed central doorway with 4 sets of double doors, canopy over with Art Deco neon tube lighting. Marble faced, buttressed tower above, now painted and with horizontal "Playhouse" sign in script above 3 light window. Shop-fronts flanking at ground and 2 floors above curving into tower; upper floors with brick band courses and continuous wrap-around horizontal windows at each floor. Stock brick built sides and rear.
INTERIOR: some decorative elements retained, although auditorium now subdivided and repainted. Cantilevered balcony, stylised pilasters and Art Deco cornice to walls, panelled ceiling. Curved metal banisters to stair in foyer. Original doors with chrome fittings remain upstairs to auditorium and bar.
Statement of Special Interest
An important survival of an Art Deco cinema, the distinctive Art Deco frontage of this cinema is a significant addition to the streetscape of this area of Perth. The cinema is unusual in retaining its metal-framed windows and the continual horizontal lines of these contrast with the central, vertical tower and add to the cinema's distinguished appearance.
Colonel Alexander Cattanach designed more than 20 cinemas in northern Scotland for Caledonian Associated Cinemas, which was possibly the largest cinemas circuit in 1930's Scotland. T B Gibson, here acting as consultant, designed for South Scotland and Edinburgh. Perth Playhouse was Caledonian's flagship, with a seating capacity of 1700. There are now five screens within the original building and two more in a modern extension to the rear. It incorporated a café and 2 shops and had the added distinction of a cantilevered balcony. It was built within 9 weeks, which Idea Kinema considered to be a record (McKean). Laing's perspective shows a confectioner and a tobacconist occupying the flanking shops at ground floor, with signage in a similar style to the original vertical Playhouse sign which was flanked by flagpoles and banners. The canopy details illustrated here differ from those built. The previous list description notes that there are fine proscenium openings behind the present screen to the main cinema, with Art Deco fretwork and relief panels, but this could not be verified at time of visit (2009). Perth Playhouse is very similar to the Regal in Rothesay of 1937, also by Cattanach and now demolished.
Information from the Cinema Theatre Association notes that planning permission was granted in 2006 for a side extension for additional screens as well as the removal of the balcony stairs in the main building.
References and Notes updated as part of the Cinemas Thematic Study, 2007-08.
List description update as part of Perth Resurvey, 2010.
Perth Library Plans DGP/1933/53 by Alex Cattanach of Kingussie, T B Gibson Consultant, for Robert Wotherspoon, Inverness, July 1933. J W Laing, Perspective View Playhouse Cinema, Perth (1933) in RIAS Collection, National Monuments Record of Scotland. Featured in National Monuments Record of Scotland Exhibition, From the Printroom (Feb-Apr 1991). Charles McKean, The Scottish Thirties (1987) p38 & 64. Other information courtesy of the Cinema Theatre Association Scotland: www.scottishcinemas.org.uk (accessed 31-12-07).
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