Film star backs landmark cinema

BRITISH film star Clive Owen has thrown his weight behind a local independent cinema which is about to celebrate its 95th birthday.After visiting Harwich's Electric Palace earlier in the year, screen icon Mr Owen, 41, has given his patronage to the historic site.

BRITISH film star Clive Owen has thrown his weight behind a local independent cinema which is about to celebrate its 95th birthday.

After visiting Harwich's Electric Palace earlier in the year, screen icon Mr Owen, 41, has given his patronage to the historic site.

The star of films such as Closer, King Arthur and the current box office smash Children of Men, has close family ties to the town and brought a house in the area more than two years ago.

After a recent visit to the Harwich landmark, he gave his commitment to the group which runs the picture-house and will help to raise the profile and raise money for building repairs.


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Peter Hadley, press officer for the Electric Palace, said he had approached Mr Owen as he was seen as the perfect person to represent the cinema.

He said: “Clive has a house in the area, so he's very keen and excited about this.

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“We need some repairs doing and I'm sure having Clive on board will help that. His support reinforces our role in the community and makes fund raising a bit easier.

“It is not just that he is a big name, but that he lives locally and is really into it. He really seems to want to get involved and take a hands on role.”

The cinema has a 200-seat capacity and shows four films a week, including weekend performances and foreign classics on a Wednesday evening.

The cinema, originally built in November 1911, fell into disrepair and disuse by 1956.

The group which now operates the cinema, the Harwich Electric Palace Trust, undertook many years of repair to the building, which was given Grade II listed status in 1972.

The site was declared an at-risk building after an inspection by English Heritage, and the patronage from Mr Owen and the forthcoming events will go a long way to helping fund the much needed structural repairs.

The cinema will shortly be hosting events to mark the 95th birthday, the 50th anniversary of the original closure and marking the 25th anniversary of the reopening, in 1981.

On November 3 it will be screening the classic film about a small cinema, The smallest show on earth, in a double feature with Mad about men, the last film shown before the 1956 closure.

CLIVE OWEN FACTFILE

n He was born in Coventry in 1964 and began his acting career at the age of 13 as the artful dodger in a production of Oliver!

n He spent 3 years at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art where he was trained in classical acting, taking lead roles in Henry IV and The Lady From the Sea

n Clive made his film debut in the British made “Vroom” in 1988 and has been climbing the Hollywood ladder ever since, appearing in hit films such as Gosford Park and Closer.

n He is now appearing alongside Julianne Moore and Michael Caine in the box office hit Children of Men which depicts a chaotic world where humans can no longer procreate.

n He has been married to his actress wife, Sarah-Jane Fenton since 1995 and he has two daughters.

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