Historic cinema is nearly ready to open new silver screen to the public
- Credit: RACHEL EDGE
An independent cinema is getting ready to open its new 180-seater premier screen to the public after months of work.
The Abbeygate Cinema in Bury St Edmunds began a phased reopening of screenings on July 10 and its No.4 Restaurant & Bar also opened its doors at the beginning of this month.
The new auditorium, which will open to the general public from Friday, July 31, brings the number of screens at the Hatter Street venue to three.
It will feature theatrical curtains and a vast curved screen with a state-of-the art 4K laser projector and full 7.1 surround sound, three drop-down chandeliers, which will be installed in time for Christmas, and a selection of sofas for customers to enjoy, located for premium seating.
MORE: Here are the measures Abbeygate Cinema is taking to be Covid-secureIt has been a challenging climate for cinemas due to Covid-19, but Abbeygate has continued with its development programme and is even recruiting for front of house staff.
Chris Peters, the cinema’s project manager, said: “Seeing these very long-held plans finally coming to a reality is just brilliant - for our customers, and for us as a business. With this state-of-the-art additional screen, we can really develop our programme and event offer, and show films we otherwise would have missed.
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“Cinemas worldwide have suffered a huge hit recently, but here at the Abbeygate we still believe the importance of an independent, locally-run cinema serving its community, and believe that our community will support us in return. We hope everyone likes the new addition!”
The cinema said it has been overwhelmed by customers’ ongoing support, and the donations which have been made in recent months to the 2020 Building Blocks Campaign they launched at the beginning of last year to help with the costs involved with this ambitious expansion project.
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Anyone who donated £50 or more to the campaign will get to see their name etched onto a wooden block which will be displayed in the new part of the building – this too will be unveiled upon the opening of the premier screen next week.
MORE: Historic cinema uses lockdown to continue major renovation workAndrea Holmes, marketing manager, said: “This is such an exciting time for us as we get to see months of hard work come to fruition and our loyal customers can at last come and enjoy the new screen they have patiently been waiting for. Despite the challenges we face at this time, to open our new premier screen next week makes us feel even prouder because we’ve achieved something magnificent!”
The new box office was unveiled at the end of last year and the original restaurant and bar area have also undergone an impressive refurbishment.
Final works planned by the end of the year will be to install a lift to the premier screen and complete new toilets.
The cinema is currently open daily with an expanding film programme to include new titles, old favourites and new Arts Screens and Event Cinema performances as it moves to evening performances with the opening of the new auditorium.