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In May 2017 Jacqueline Kerrigan, manager at Fintona library, kindly provided the composite photocopy of the programme cover, letterhead and tickets in the attached photo. (There is also a line drawing of the Cinema, but that is unfortunately very faint.) She added that co-owner Michael Kelly lived on Main Street, and co-owner Dan McCaffrey was a dentist. The cinema building, which was previously the Town Hall, is now occupied by Q Sports and a Money Advice Centre. The programme cover confirms the Cinema was operating until March 1972, at least.
This cinema was initially one of three in Prague owned and operated by an association of pilots. All had appropriate names: Aero (“Aeroplane”), Pilotu (“Pilot”) and Vzlet (“Take off”). Nowadays, the Aero is associated with Kino OKO and Kino Svetozor. During a visit to the city in June 2017 I saw “Trainspotting 2”, starring Ewan McGregor and Ewen Bremner (in English, with Czech subtitles) at this lovely cinema.
During a visit to Prague in June 2017 I saw “Lady Macbeth”, starring Florence Pugh (in English language, with Czech subtitles), at this magnificent cinema – which appears to be even older than mentioned above, with its website saying that it opened on 3rd December 1907. (The year is corroborated by the inscription on a bust of founder Vacslav Havel.)
The main auditorium currently has 453 seats, and is equipped with 4K digital technology, with 3D capability, with Dolby Surround 7.1 sound.
A second auditorium, seating 51, opened in 2013. This occupies space that was, some 70 years ago, the owner’s private cinema. This is equipped with 2K digital projector with 3D projection and Dolby Surround 7.1 sound.
During a visit to Prague in June 2017 I noted that, despite exterior signage stating “Kino a Divadlo” [“Cinema and Theatre”], no films were being advertised at the venue, and its website listed only live performances. Indeed, the current theatre company has the specific aim of encouraging young actors, directors and scriptwriters in live theatre.
On a visit to Prague in June 2017 I noted that the Roxy was only advertising live music events.
Kino Blanik opened on 18th September 1929. Live productions first started, presumably interspersed with film shows, in the 1960s, then Studio DVA, an independent theatre and arts company, was founded in 2000. In 2003 the auditorium was re-designed for theatre purposes, with a revamped stage, new seating and updated technical equipment. The building re-opened as Studio DVA on 18th September 2013. There are 610 seats. Films do not appear to be part of the theatre’s current repertoire.
Despite the £4.1m part Lottery funded restoration in 2013, which included the construction of the current digital cinema, Penarth Arts and Crafts (PAC), which leases the Pavilion from Vale of Glamorgan Council on a 125 year lease, closed the cinema on 6th March 2017.
A petition was raised by filmgoers faced with the loss of the town’s only cinema.
PAC responded by putting out this statement: “First of all we would like to acknowledge the strength of support for the Cinema as evidenced by the number of signatures to the on-line petition. We welcome the many statements made about the importance of the Cinema not only to local residents but also those from further afield. We can assure you that there is no plan to close the Cinema ‘indefinitely’ as reported in some local media, however we have recognised that, to ensure the long term future of the Cinema and of the Pavilion as a whole, we need to make some temporary changes to our operations.
The last three years have shown quite clearly that with the limited capacity of the 68 seat Cinema the income from ticket sales will never be enough to cover the costs of running the Cinema. As a registered charity we cannot continue to provide facilities that are uneconomical as is the case with the Cinema. We have therefore drawn up a plan to secure additional independent financial support from a variety of possible sources. This will enable us to maintain the Cinema in the longer term and to keep ticket prices at an affordable level. Over the coming months we will regularly review progress on our future plans and hope very much to be able to re-open the Cinema sooner rather than later."
On Friday 7th April 2017, following tireless work by a team of volunteers, films returned to the Empire, when “The Girl on the Train”, starring Emily Blunt, was screened. As the film shows are interspersed with the live events, they are restricted to Wednesday Afternoon Matinees and Friday Night Film Night, plus children’s matinees on Saturdays or Sundays.
Contradicting the assertion above, that film shows were re-introduced in 2012, the history page on the Empire’s website confirms that films had not been shown since July 2005. By that time, audiences had dwindled following the opening, in November 2002, of the Cineworld at Braintree. Now, the advent of digital projection has led to an increase in the number, and popularity, of community cinemas, and it is to be hoped that the good citizens of Halstead will support these film shows at the Empire.
By April 2017 the nightclub had closed, and the building was disused.
Small Cinema sadly closed on Sunday 30th April 2017, following an announcement that Crown Buildings were to be put up for sale for redevelopment. The cinema went out on a high, with a full weekend programme that culminated with “Together” (2000), directed by Lucas Moodysson, which was followed by a Grand Closing Party. According to its website, it has welcomed over 8,000 people to 270 screenings in its relatively short life.
Thankfully, the future of Small Cinema is being discussed by its volunteer team. I certainly hope that alternative premises can be found, and that this wonderful independent can be resurrected.
In April 2017 owner Amy Gathercote announced her “heart-breaking” decision to close Screen 22. She had re-opened the cinema in 2011 but broke her leg in October 2016, while indulging in another of her passions, Roller Derby. Friends and family kept the cinema going, but her period of convalescence led to some reflection, and she decided not to renew the lease. She now invites another film buff to take on the challenge!
I made my customary visit on Good Friday, 14th April 2017, to see the 9pm screening of “Personal Shopper”, starring Kristen Stewart. When I arrived, the early evening film, “The Salesman”, starring Taraneh Alidoosti and Shahab Hosseini, was on, so the shutter had been brought down behind the front doors (see the Overview above) and a helpful map shows how patrons should enter the cinema via the rear entrance.
That leads to a covered courtyard with tables and chairs, which in turn leads to the café/restaurant directly behind the auditorium.
In the auditorium, seating is a mixture of “airline” seats, other free-standing seats and two-seater sofas. All are very comfortable and there is a very generous rake, affording excellent sightlines. Adding to the ambiance were the frequent trains passing by overhead (the cinema is in a converted railway arch!) – as “Personal Shopper” is a ghost story it was sometimes unclear whether the rumbling came from the sound system or the railway. But at least the railway wasn’t as intrusive as it was at the long demolished, but fondly remembered, Bijou, Sloughborough, as featured in “The Smallest Show on Earth”!
Having visited with the Cinema Theatre Association in July 1999, I finally got to see a film in March 2017! Fortunately, it was well worth the wait, as I saw a stunning print of Powell & Pressburger’s “Black Narcissus”, starring Deborah Kerr and David Farrar.
I was made very welcome by the enthusiastic volunteer staff, who clearly operate the Cube as a real labour of love. The place has a wonderfully ‘independent’ feel about it, and I was delighted to sit with a near full house, a real rarity these days and a testament to the lure of a wonderful film in this lovely atmosphere. I wish all at the Cube all the very best. I only hope it’s not another 18 years before I return!
According to newspaper reports, the 304-seat Westway closed in March 2017 after the business went into liquidation. It had been run by local woman Martina O’Connor and her partner Mark Lifely for the previous five years, after they took over from her parents Dennis and Dolores, who had run it for the more than 20 years.
Happily, the Westway was re-opened on Wednesday 22nd February 2017 by Pat and Beryl Scott, who run the Ritz at Burnham on Sea. That day, and the Thursday, were used for staff training/bedding in, and the official re-opening took place on Friday 24th February. The main change has been its transformation into a three screen cinema. There is also a licenced bar.
The Forum stood at the junction of Dorvil Road and The Square. In March 2017 the site was occupied by the car park for a Eurospar supermarket.
When I visited in March 2017, a local resident told me the former cinema had been used as a squash club until its recent closure.
On 27th March 2017, when I visited the Gaumont Plaza (to see “Beauty and the Beast”, starring Emma Watson) I was very fortunate to meet operator Ashley Whyatt.
This is, of course, very much a work-in-progress. To get the film shows started, the former stalls have been brought back to life through the construction of a temporary projection box halfway down the centre aisle and the installation of a combination of multiplex seats and two and three-seat settees. 104 patrons can be accommodated, and the extremely comfortable seating has been arranged to provide plenty of leg-room. The scale of the auditorium allows for a huge screen, and I (together with a promisingly large number of patrons) thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
In due course, the projection box will be moved further back, to allow for seating for about 140 patrons, in more conventional rows.
At that time, the temporary box office/concession stand, at the back of the stalls, will be moved into the internal foyer (the original box office, in the outer foyer, is not currently being used).
Meanwhile, the circle has been blocked off, and two 50-seat cinemas are being constructed side by side, Ashley realising, quite rightly, that one single screen is simply not sufficient.
It was lovely to see this cinema coming back to life, and I wished Ashley and his team all the very best.
This is a very striking building, with the upper-level foyer commanding wonderful views over the River Weaver. I was made very welcome when I visited, in March 2017, to see “Kong: Skull Island”, starring Samuel L. Jackson and John Goodman.
The Everyman is housed in the upper floors of a new, eye-catching building in a wonderful location by the river. I visited on 21st February 2017 to see “Manchester by the Sea”, starring Casey Affleck and Michelle Williams, and was made very welcome by the staff. Just a small correction to my Overview comments: the wonderfully named ‘Spielburger’ is one of the menu options, not the name of the bar/restaurant!
By late March 2017 demolition was well underway. I’ve posted four photographs, taken on 27th March by David Weedon.
This is a really lovely cinema, well up to Curzon’s customary standards. An extremely imaginative touch is the sixties ‘retro’ furnishings and decoration in the extensive, very comfortable foyer/lounge.
When I paid my customary visit to the new Cineworld in the Harvey Centre, on 31st January 2017, I took advantage of the occasion to also call in at this Cineworld, which I last visited in January 2000, while it was the Virgin. I saw “xXx: Return of Xander Cage”, starring Vin Diesel, in Screen 5. I was told that seating capacities are now: Screen 1:201, 2:115, 3:103, 4:103, 5:113 and 6:116. This total of 751 is less than half of the 1,553 stated under its previous branding. Judging by Screen 5, this appears to be more to do with newer, wider seats than any significant re-stepping of the seats. But the cinema is in fine shape; between them, the two six-screen Cineworlds finally provide the town with the multiplex capacity it deserves.
Seating capacities are: Screen 1:266, 2:127, 3:98, 4:209, 5:123 and 6:115. A total of 938 seats.
By January 2017, when I visited to see “Live by Night”, starring Ben Affleck and Elle Fanning, Everyman had carried out their usual sumptuous refurbishment.
This is a screen grab from “All About Eve” (1950) with the marquee advertising a [fictitious] play within the film.