Cinemas in Bury St Edmunds, Stowmarket and Ipswich boosted by funding awards

Abbeygate Cinema has been awarded £175,000 in the second round of the Culture Recovery Fund

Abbeygate Cinema in Hatter Street, Bury St Edmunds, has been awarded £175,000 in the second round of the Culture Recovery Fund - Credit: Rachel Edge

Cinemas in the region are benefitting from more than half-a-million-pounds of culture funding - including Abbeygate Cinema in Bury St Edmunds with a £175,000 chunk.

The money from the second round of the government's Culture Recovery Fund is to support arts organisations to reopen and welcome audiences and visitors back.

The Spa Pavilion at Felixstowe has netted £572,305, which has been described as "vital" as it prepares to reopen following the latest coronavirus lockdown.

Cinemas in the East of England will receive £590,081, with Abbeygate Cinema seeing a substantial award of £175,978.

Abbeygate Cinema manager Pat Church 

Abbeygate Cinema manager Pat Church - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Abbeygate Cinema has undergone extensive refurbishment in recent years and now boasts a 180-seater premier screen.

The Regal Theatre in Stowmarket is getting £80,340 from the second round of the Culture Recovery Fund, while Film Theatre in Ipswich has been granted £2,823.

Ben Roberts, chief executive of the British Film Institute, said: "People have been missing the big screen experience and we know they are looking forward to cinemas being able to reopen from 17 May onwards.

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"The Culture Recovery Fund has been a lifeline to survival for local independent cinemas up and down the country, ensuring that they will be able to welcome their audiences back.

"In bringing the latest films from blockbusters to British films and new discoveries from around the world as well as screen classics, the local ‘cinema paradiso’ is often the only form of culture and entertainment in their area and are vital to their communities.

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"We need them back and thanks to the fund screens will soon light up once more.“

The funding will allow The Regal Theatre in Stowmarket to reopen as a new, fully accessible venue, with its mission statement of ‘making community cinema affordable to the whole community’ being at the front and centre.  

From left to right: councillors Julie Flatman, Suzie Morley, Gerard Brewster, Barry Salmon, Nick Gow

Upgrade work being inspected at The Regal Theatre in Stowmarket last year - Credit: Mid Suffolk District Council

Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, work was able to continue on a £3.6million upgrade of The Regal Theatre, including three modern cinema screens, new seating, and fresh entrance, café and bar areas.

The awards announced today, April 2, builds on £2,876,461 already awarded from the Culture Recovery Fund to cinemas in the region.  

Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, said: "Our record breaking Culture Recovery Fund has already helped thousands of culture and heritage organisations across the country survive the biggest crisis they've ever faced.

“Now we’re staying by their side as they prepare to welcome the public back through their doors - helping our cultural gems plan for reopening and thrive in the better times ahead.”

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