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In Blaenau Ffestiniog, Gwynedd, this unique independent cinema opened on Friday 22nd July 2016 with “The BFG”, starring Mark Rylance. It is situated in former County Police Buildings that were vacated in 2004. The transformation began in 2007 with the construction of a series of artists’ workshops, and since then a café/bar and function space have been created on the upper floor, while the ground floor is home to a small hostel.
The original intention had been to also open a ‘cool and quirky’ art house theatre on the ground floor. However, following discussions with residents, it was decided that a cinema was a greater priority. Arts Council of Wales and local company Magnox contributed £100,000 for the installation of a state of the art auditorium and the digital projection system.
I visited in March 2017 to see “The Great Wall”, starring Matt Damon. Before seeing the film I had a very tasty burger in the really attractively laid out upstairs café/bar (complete with a wood-burning stove, very welcome on not the best of days!) and chatted with other patrons, local residents who clearly appreciate their new cinema. The cinema has been constructed to a very high standard, and this all made for a wonderful experience. This is a really imaginative use of a former public building.
It was closed in 2017 due to a burst water pipe. Crowdfunding is ongoing to make repairs and reopen the cinema.
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