Riverside Cinema forced to close by heating crisis

Film-maker Mike Leigh with Neil McGlone outside the Riverside Cinema in Woodbridge. The Riverside wi

Film-maker Mike Leigh with Neil McGlone outside the Riverside Cinema in Woodbridge. The Riverside will be reopening its doors after lockdown on May 17 before being forced  to close again for the summer. - Credit: Archant

Woodbridge’s Riverside Cinema has announced it will reopen on May 17 for a 10-day screening of the Netflix film, The Dig, before being forced to close again for the summer.

Programme manager Neil McGlone said that the closure was being forced on them because their boilers had died on them during lockdown and they need to get them replaced.

“It is particularly frustrating that this should happen now just as we are getting ready to reopen but that’s life – another hurdle for us to jump over. They are more than 40 years old so they had to go sometime but it would have been nice for them to hang on for just a little while longer.”

The collapse of the boilers comes just after a leak in their gas pipe during the cold snap earlier this year which meant that the auditorium went unheated for an extended period of time because of Covid lockdown.

“We were unable to heat the cinema periodically during our coldest spell causing damp in the main cinema and lasting damage to our walls and ceiling.

“Also, we did not fair well with the government’s Cultural Recovery Fund in comparison to other local cinemas who in some cases received several times the amount we did. At a time when we needed it most to help see us through these difficult times, we felt let down.”

Neil said that the estimated cost of replacing the boilers could be in the region of £40,000 – “and we just don’t have that sort of money lying about.”

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He said that while looking for alternative quotes they are also hoping to launch a crowdfunding appeal in the near future because the Riverside Theatre and Cinema was a strong part of the life of Woodbridge.

He said: “Our financial situation is quite perilous having only operated for a few months since the pandemic. We appreciate the help and support already given, and if there is any way anyone might be able to help us again then please do visit the donations page on our website.”

He said that they would screen The Dig, as promised from May 17-27 to provide people with a "cultural escape from the troubles of the world" before closing to allow work on the boilers to be carried out.

It would be difficult to predict how long they would be closed for but would like to be open again by September.

The Riverside will reopen on May 17, screening The Dig, starring Ralph Fiennes and Carey Mulligan, along with a double bill screening of Stanley's War and The War Just Outside Ipswich - two films by Woodbridge film-maker Tim Curtis.

For details of screenings and ways to donate to the crowd-funding appeal go to the Riverside website.

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