From the 1930s until the 1960s, Prestwick’s Broadway Cinema was the place to be.

The glorious Art Deco building opened in 1935 and for the next 30 years showed the biggest movies in the most stylish of surroundings.

But the advent of TV hit cinemas hard.

By 1966, the Broadway was a bingo hall. A brief bid to bring back movies to the building lasted just 10 months in 1976 and from 1983 to 2003, it became Prestwick Leisure Centre, with an amusement arcade and squash courts.

But now, the Broadway could finally be back with a bang.

Ayr Advertiser: Friends of the Broadway

The Friends of the Broadway, a registered charity of local residents, have campaigned for years to raise funds to bring the building back to life.

The cost of restoring the building into a working cinema, with other facilities for the community included in the design, is in the region of £10-12million.

Now, however, they are on the cusp of success – awaiting news of big grant funding which could allow them to take over the building and return it to glory.

And this time around, it will be more than just a cinema.

Friends of the Broadway director and trustee Kyle Macfarlane said: “It will become a community hub, with a café, perhaps a book and record exchange and that massive stage which could host musical events, musical theatre and comedy shows.

“We would also like to extend the Broadway, with two more screens at the back of the building which will allow films to continue to be shown while other events are taking place in the main auditorium.”

As a fundraiser, Friends of the Broadway are holding a Hallowe'en cinema event in Prestwick Academy next weekend.

Ayr Advertiser: Friends of the Broadway

And the photos on this page give a glimpse inside the old building - with a haunting 1930-style twist for Hallowe'en - courtesy of Esther Morgan Photography.

Part of the Friends' vision for the old cinema includes plans to turn the building into a Gaelic-friendly venue, hosting Gaelic film events.

And then there are plans to turn part of the building into a Museum of Scottish Cinema, which the team are hoping could attract visitors from around the world.

Ayr Advertiser: Friends of the Broadway

Kyle said: “We will be developing a heritage collection and part of the building will become a dedicated museum.

"The old projectors are still upstairs and one of them could become part of the museum, with the other two being  restored to show 35mm and 70mm films.

"At the moment [in Scotland], only the Glasgow Film Theatre has a 70mm projector. We still have some of the old film reels in the building too.

“We want to host a digital map of Scottish cinemas and become a fully accredited museum – and within the rest of the building there will be exhibits dotted about. 

"We would love to be able to do projection room tours as well.”

The building is currently owned by Ayrshire-based hospitality group Buzzworks Holdings - who already operate two venues in Prestwick, Vic's & The Vine and the Lido, each just a stone's throw from the Broadway building - and who, Kyle says, have indicated their willingness to sell.

Kyle added: “We are in talks with the Scottish Land Fund and we are expecting an announcement  before the end of the year.

“The current owners, Buzzworks, have been incredibly supportive and are happy to sell the building to us once funding is available. We are hoping that will be in the coming months.

“The architectural development stage will follow in 2024. 

"Obviously there’s a lot of work to do with the restoration, but we are hoping for an opening in late 2026, perhaps 2027.

“It really is a huge project… there is so much to it.”

Ayr Advertiser: Friends of the Broadway

Restoration is a big part of the plan - and the original art deco designs and gold flecked paint have survived well, below the wood and hardboard which covered them during the leisure centre area.

The squash courts occupying the main seating area will have to go. The balcony will have to be restored. But there are plans to retain the 'dumb waiter', connecting floors in the building.

The Broadway plans aren't the only piece of good news recently for film buffs in South Ayrshire, following the news in August that the former Odeon cinema in Ayr had been purchased and given a new name - the Astoria - by the independent Merlin Cinemas group, two months after its doors were closed.

Kyle added: “We would be able to pull from a really wide area. We reckon people would travel from other countries to see a film here.

"If you look at the recent success of Oppenheimer and Barbie, these films showed what can be done and how popular they can be.

“It feels like it is actually happening now.

"We have a great team and are appointing marketing advisors, facilities managers, a writer in residence and official photographer.

"This project is growing arms and legs.”