Cash joy for region's cinemas

FILM fans in East Anglia are celebrating some blockbuster news as the region has received more than £70,000 in lottery funding from the UK Film Council.

By Andrew Clarke

FILM fans in East Anglia are celebrating some blockbuster news as the region has received more than £70,000 in lottery funding from the UK Film Council.

The money is to be used to upgrade four independent cinemas in the area - the Ipswich Film Theatre, Aldeburgh Cinema, The Regal Theatre at Stowmarket and the cinema facilities at Haverhill Arts Centre.

Aldeburgh Cinema, which plays both art house movies and mainstream Hollywood fare as well as staging an annual documentary festival in December, has received a major cash injection of £29,630 thanks to the UK Film Council's Small Capital Fund.

The money will be used for new flooring, seating, curtains, wall and acoustic panelling to improve the cinema-going experience for Aldeburgh film fans.

Brian Linke, Aldeburgh Cinema Chief Executive said: “The cash injection is extremely welcome and we are grateful to the UK Film Council for giving us the opportunity to bring forward and extend our plans to upgrade the facilities at the cinema.

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“We are keenly anticipating the expansion of our activities with the help of the new digital technology and are delighted that we shall soon be able to offer our faithful cinema audience a rewarding experience in an enhanced and more comfortable environment.”

The UK Film Council's Steve Perrin said: “Small cinemas fulfil a vital role in our local communities but often they don't have the cash to upgrade their facilities.

“It is fantastic that lottery funding is helping Aldeburgh cinema to do just that to the benefit of local audiences.”

The Regal Theatre in Stowmarket, which serves cinema audiences from across mid Suffolk, has received a lottery cash injection of £25,000.

The money will go towards replacing the old seats, carpets and curtains with new ones, redecorating the auditorium and foyer in colours sympathetic to the age and style of the building, and overhauling the heating system.

Tom Offord, manager of the Regal Theatre, Stowmarket said: “This money will help us to transform the interior of the theatre into a modern, comfortable facility for all ages to enjoy.”

Ipswich Film Theatre, which serves specialist cinema audiences from across East Anglia has received £8,652 to help improve access for disabled cinemagoers.

Films officer for Ipswich Borough Council, Dave Gregory said: “We are delighted to receive this grant as we look at improving access to our cinema screens in the basement of the Corn Exchange.”

Across the county Haverhill Arts Centre, which attracts cinema audiences from across west Suffolk, has received a lottery cash grant of £7,645 which will be used to install subtitling and audio description facilities.

An infra red hearing system to improve the cinema going experience for films fans with hearing or sight impairments will also be installed and projection facilities at Haverhill will be upgraded.

Nick Keeble, Arts and Leisure Manager at the Arts Centre, was delighted with the cash boost.

He said: “We have wanted to offer a better service to our local community for some time and these improvements will definitely help us to attract more local filmgoers.”

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