Film theatre could see months of closure

MOVIE fans in Ipswich could be faced with a severely restricted choice next year if the town's film theatre closes for a major overhaul.Members of the Ipswich Film Society have been warned they will be unable to book the theatre in the Corn Exchange after next May because it may be necessary to carry out major changes there.

MOVIE fans in Ipswich could be faced with a severely restricted choice next year if the town's film theatre closes for a major overhaul.

Members of the Ipswich Film Society have been warned they will be unable to book the theatre in the Corn Exchange after next May because it may be necessary to carry out major changes there.

It could see the theatre closed for between 18 months and two years – leaving nowhere in Ipswich showing second-run or non-commercial films.

The second screen at the Corn Exchange closed earlier this year when the Ipswich Film Theatre took over one of the screens at the town's Odeon cinema.

But last week it was announced that Odeon cinema is to close next month –leaving nowhere for Ipswich Film Theatre to go if the Corn Exchange screen closed.

Neil Salmon from the Ipswich Film Society and who is also on the advisory board of the film theatre said members hoped that the council would not go ahead with the changes to the Corn Exchange in the near future.

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He said: "We have been told these are not an immediate priority, so hopefully the film theatre will be able to continue as it is.

"But we have been told that eventually the council wants to introduce major changes to the Corn Exchange which would require the film theatre to be out of action for about 18 months to two years."

There are hopes that eventually the film theatre will move to a purpose-built centre as part of the university development.

But there is widespread scepticism about whether this will ever happen.

One member of the Ipswich Arts' Association told The Evening Star: "Frankly many people think all this talk about a film theatre as part of the university is a bit of a pipedream.

"Assuming we do get a university, any new buildings are still many years away – and I can't see the government and/or local authorities throwing hundreds of thousands of pounds at a new film theatre.

"That's hardly going to be top of the list of priorities in establishing the university."

A spokesman for Ipswich Council said officers were committed to ensuring there remained a wide range of films on offer in the town.

He said: "It is very important to us to ensure that there is a wide selection available for people of all ages and tastes and we are sure that this will continue in Ipswich."

n. Meanwhile Ipswich will no longer have a UGC cinema from the beginning of next month.

Earlier this year the French-owned chain was taken over by Cineworld – and all its 42 cinemas across the country will be renamed during August.

A spokeswoman for the company said the popular Unlimited season tickets would still be issued even though the name was changing.

n. Are you upset that the film theatre may face closure for many months? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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