Tiger Woods and Justin Timberlake are preparing for a student protest against their new sports and entertainment bar in St Andrews. St Andrews, known for its rich golfing heritage and as a cornerstone of the UK golf scene, which is enjoying unprecedented popularity, a unique story is unfolding that combines the worlds of entertainment, community spirit, and the love for cinema.
The town, often frequented by golf enthusiasts from around the globe, is now at the heart of a peaceful protest that blends the love for the silver screen with concerns over a proposed sports bar by golf legend Tiger Woods and pop icon Justin Timberlake.
The University of St Andrews students have taken a stand, rallying the townsfolk to join them in a heartwarming effort to save the town’s beloved cinema, the New Picture House. This Sunday, they aim to demonstrate the cinema’s viability by selling out every seat across nine films.
It’s a call to arms for cinema lovers and a testament to the community’s resilience, spearheaded by Boris Bosilkov, director of the St Andrews Film Festival, Ash Johann Curry-Machado, president of the St Andrews Film Society, and Sairaa Bains, president of the university’s school of film studies.
This initiative comes in response to plans by Woods and Timberlake’s Nexus Luxury Collection to transform the North Street venue into a “premium sports and entertainment gastro pub,” a move that has sparked a passionate debate within the community. The bar will be the latest venue in their T Squared Social Club venture.
Despite the allure of adding a high-profile sports bar to a town revered for its golfing legacy, many argue that the cost—losing a historic cinema—is too high a price to pay.
With over 11,700 people expressing their dissent through an online petition, the outcry is palpable. Honey Harrop, a management student and participant in the protest, eloquently captures the sentiment, emphasizing the cinema’s role as a community hub and the disparity between what is being lost and gained.
The New Picture House, according to its managing director David Morris, faces closure due to dwindling admissions and the financial pressures of our times, exacerbated by the rising cost of living, energy prices, and the shift towards streaming services.
Yet, in the midst of this turmoil, Nexus Luxury Collection hints at a glimmer of hope, suggesting that their plans might still include a cinema offering, aiming to rejuvenate the venue rather than strip it of its cinematic soul.
As the town of St Andrews stands at this crossroads, the story unfolding is more than just about a cinema or a sports bar; it’s a reflection of a community’s fight to preserve its cultural landmarks amidst the evolving landscape of entertainment and leisure.
This peaceful protest, against the backdrop of St Andrews’ golfing prestige and the burgeoning popularity of the sport across the UK, showcases the power of community and the enduring love for cinema. It’s a reminder that even in a town celebrated for its golf courses, the heart of the community beats strong for its cultural heritage.