Historic cinema to reopen after refit

AN INDEPENDENT Suffolk cinema reopens its doors to the public today after a £60,000 refit. Aldeburgh Cinema obtained a £30,000 grant from the UK Film Council towards the cost of the refurbishment.

By Richard Smith

AN INDEPENDENT Suffolk cinema reopens its doors to the public today after a £60,000 refit.

Aldeburgh Cinema obtained a £30,000 grant from the UK Film Council towards the cost of the refurbishment.

This was the fifth largest grant out of applications from 64 cinemas in the small business category.


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Some cinemagoers were given a preview last night of the new-look auditorium and foyer, and now the cinema is hoping that the public will enjoy watching films in the improved cinema.

All of the seats have been replaced, the walls and stage have been repainted, the unstable floor has been improved and a new digital projector will arrive later in the week.

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For many years films have arrived by courier at the cinema on a Friday and staff have been unsure exactly when the new film would turn up.

The advantage of the new projector is that the computer hard disc will be sent in advance, ready for showing at the agreed time.

The old seats were paid for by sponsors at £50 a seat and they had their names on them. Now the sponsors' plaques have been taken off the seats and they will be displayed on a wall.

There are facilities for deaf and blind people to be able to enjoy a film and the cinema's staff are confident that the changes will keep the cinema vibrant and viable for years to come.

Brian Linke, the cinema's chief executive, said: “We regard this as a community cinema and I am waiting to see what the people of Aldeburgh think of the improvements.

“I love what has happened. I go to see a lot of films in London to decide what to have here and I thought Aldeburgh cinema was the least comfortable compared with them.

“But now I think we are at least as comfortable. The number of seats has been reduced from 286 to 253 - we still think this is a good number - and all the seats are 90cm apart.

“Before we had some seats at 82 cms and others at 87cms, and now there is more legroom.

“The seats are also a bit wider, they are a modern version of what was there and they come from a French company who supply most of the opera houses in the world.

“The old seats have been sold and they have gone to Southwold Cinema and St Felix School.''

Aldeburgh Cinema is one of the few independent cinemas still surviving in the UK. The auditorium was built in 1924 and the foyer and exhibition gallery are part of an 18th Century house.

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