15 unmissable films to watch at Suffolk's independent cinemas

Abbeygate Cinema in Bury St Edmunds is one of the independent cinemas gearing up to reopen this week

Abbeygate Cinema in Bury St Edmunds is one of the independent cinemas gearing up to reopen this week - Credit: Bernard Wright

There’s no better feeling than heading to your local cinema, popcorn in one hand and ticket stub in the other. Remember how exciting it is to make your way to your seat before the lights dim, the curtains part and the film starts?

Well now you can experience that once again, as cinemas have been given the go-ahead to reopen thanks to the government's current phase of lockdown restrictions easing. 

Three of Suffolk’s independently-run film houses explain what reopening means for them, how excited they are to show films again, and what you should come check out over the coming weeks.  

The Dig, starring Ralph Fiennes and Carey Mulligan, has been nominated for five BAFTAs including Bes

The Dig, starring Ralph Fiennes and Carey Mulligan, will be shown in a number of Suffolk cinemas over the coming weeks. It can also still be streamed on Netflix. - Credit: LARRY HORRICKS/NETFLIX

All cinemas will have a number of Covid-safe protocols in place, in line with government requirements. To find out specific measures, get in touch with the cinemas directly.   

Abbeygate Cinema in Bury St Edmunds

Abbeygate Cinema in Bury St Edmunds - Credit: Abbeygate Cinema

Abbeygate Cinema 


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Bury St Edmunds’ very own Abbeygate Cinema will be opening its doors on Thursday May 20, with its restaurant opening a few days before on Monday May 17.  

“After months of lockdown and the mothballing of life as we know it, we're thrilled to hear the government's plans for cinemas reopening from May 17 have been given the green light,” says marketing manager Andrea Holmes. 

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“We've been humbled by the huge amount of support we've been given during the past year, and we're delighted to be back with great excitement and optimism for our future.” 

Tickets are now available for a number of upcoming films at the cinema, including the award-winning Nomadland, Suffolk’s very own The Dig, Minari, Sound of Metal, and Judas and the Black Messiah.  

For anyone who’s missing that festival feeling this summer, Abbeygate Cinema will be showing Glastonbury Festival Presents: Live at Worth Farm on Saturday May 22. Filmed at various locations across the sacred festival site, this five-hour spectacular will feature a whole host of performances from artists who have previously played the iconic music event, including Coldplay, Damon Albarn, Haim, Idles, Jorja Smith, Kano, Michael Kiwanuka, and a number of yet-to-be-announced surprise performances. 

“We’re also excited to announce our new season of Pat’s Movie Greats, which will include the award-winning Green Book, and the chance to see Jaws as it should be enjoyed - on the big screen once more. Our Abbeygate Arts programme, Discover Cinema Season, and Saturday Family Matinees are all back with some great titles too,” adds Andrea. 

Table bookings are now also available for the cinema’s No.4 Restaurant and Bar, where customers can enjoy a range of dishes from its updated menu, including the brand-new Philadelphia cheesesteak sandwich. 

Leiston Film Theatre

Leiston Film Theatre - Credit: Leiston Film Theatre

Leiston Film Theatre  

Established in 1914, Suffolk’s oldest cinema is ready for business once again and will be reopening its doors this Monday, with a plethora of films for the whole family to enjoy.  

Expressing his delight at next week is general manager Wayne Burns, who says: “We are very excited, as are our customers, at the reopening of our beloved film Theatre. Our encouraging bookings speak for themselves, and we're certain there will be a genuine sense of appreciation when our venue comes back to life next week. 

“I think this lockdown has been especially hard for our film theatre family. We hate seeing the cinema so lifeless. It's a home for entertainment and to see it so eerily quiet is simply sad, but our website has been extremely popular this week, with people taking a good look at our exciting relaunch programme.” 

A number of feature films are due to be shown at Leiston’s cinema over the coming weeks, including The Dig, Nomadland, Godzilla vs. Kong, and Six Minutes to Midnight. Scheduled for release in June are Peter Rabbit 2, The Father, and David Fincher’s Mank. 

Aldeburgh Cinema

Aldeburgh Cinema - Credit: Aldeburgh Cinema

Aldeburgh Cinema 

Suffolk’s second-oldest cinema will be back in action as of Wednesday May 19, and general manager Michele Kench cannot wait to welcome back scores of eager film fanatics. “Aldeburgh Cinema has been continuously open since 1919 until the pandemic, and one of our aims is to ensure that the cinema is running for another 100 years. We have continued to keep the cinema open when we have been allowed by the government, and right now feels a really optimistic time for us all,” she says. 

Throughout lockdown, the art deco cinema fundraised in order to keep the cinema afloat – and managed to carry some maintenance work on its building ahead of its grand reopening. “The leaking roofs have been replaced, our foyer redecorated and some of our fundamental technical equipment replaced,” explains Michele. 

“The cinema is a community asset, used by many people and organisations – keeping it safe and secure means that locals and visitors to the town can enjoy it for years to come.” 

Visitors to Aldeburgh Cinema can expect a wide variety of screenings over the upcoming weeks, including The Dig, and Nomadland. During half term, Peter Rabbit 2 will be shown, alongside Wonder Woman and Six Minutes to Midnight.  

“We have also planned our first special event of 2021, and we are delighted that Lucy Bevan, casting director of The Dig will be joining us for a Q&A after The Dig on Thursday 27 May. This will be led by documentary producer Al Morrow, and will give our audience the opportunity to learn more about The Dig and the role of casting director,” adds Michele. 

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