Film star speaks up for cinema

ONE of Britain's biggest film stars made a rare personal appearance last night as he delighted fans in an Essex town, delivering a passionate speech in support of an historic cinema.

ONE of Britain's biggest film stars made a rare personal appearance last night as he delighted fans in an Essex town, delivering a passionate speech in support of an historic cinema.

Clive Owen, best known for playing the title role in the recent hit King Arthur and his Oscar-nominated performance in Closer, was recently announced as the new patron of the Electric Palace cinema in Harwich.

And he braved a chilly night in the coastal town when he joined regular cinema-goers at a screening of his latest box office smash Children of Men, also starring Michael Caine.

Mr Owen has strong connections with the area through his wife's family, who come from the Harwich area, and is a committed supporter of the Electric Palace.


You may also want to watch:


Before the curtains were raised, Mr Owen made a speech to the 200-strong audience.

He said: “I'm really proud to be asked to be patron of this very special cinema. I think this building is not only a beautiful and historic one, it is also a very important one.

Most Read

“I got my film education running around and going to all the old rep cinemas. It is vital that we use and support the Electric Palace.”

Mr Owen leant his support to the cinema's restoration, which has already attracted the backing of Sir John Betjeman, the Electric Palace's first patron.

The cinema is currently on the English Heritage 'At Risk Register' and Mr Owen said that by raising the £85,000 needed for the current work and carrying out the repairs it could come off the list for good.

He added: “My first duty as patron is to formally launch this appeal. We just have to raise the amount needed.”

After the screening, Mr Owen enjoyed a question and answer session with members of the audience, who were thrilled with the opportunity to find out more about one of Britain's leading screen actors.

Quote from cinema person.

The 95-year-old cinema first opened its doors to moviegoers in 1911 but had to close in 1956 after falling into disrepair.

In the 1970s, a charity group made up of local people managed to save the picture-house from demolition and have been faithfully restoring it ever since.

The cinema now needs urgent structural repairs in order to preserve the future of the building and ensure the independent facility remains open for at least another 95 years.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter