The Playhouse was the luxury cinema in Inverness. It opened in 1929 and was one of the first cinemas to be built for sound.

The design of the building gave it the look of a theatre, especially as it had box seats on each side of the balcony and the stage.

When the cinema opened, there was a balcony foyer behind the box which was later turned into the cafe. For many years, up until the closure of the cinema, this was turned into a Christmas fairyland every year. The manager of the time, Jimmy Nairn, adorned the walls with cartoon characters and windmills and fountains were created.

Manager of The Playhouse, Jimmy Nairn, decorating the walls for Christmas

Invernessians have fond memories of Christmas at the Playhouse:

“Every Christmas there was a display in the foyer for the children”

“I remember a huge snowman with spinning eyes”

“We would go to the Playhouse Cinema every Christmas. Jimmy Nairn dressed the restaurant out in Disney style. There was a tank with mice in it. At High Tea, Santa Claus would come round. There was a post box for letters to him”

“I remember getting all dressed up to go to the Playhouse Cinema. There were always long queues and we stood for ages. Christmas was magical”