Film theatre's future still in doubt

IPSWICH Film Theatre's future remains in doubt today but its supporters have been given a promise that specialist films continue to be shown somewhere in the town whatever happens at the Corn Exchange.

IPSWICH Film Theatre's future remains in doubt today but its supporters have been given a promise that specialist films continue to be shown somewhere in the town whatever happens at the Corn Exchange.

That was the key issue to come out of an open meeting sponsored by Ipswich council and the town's arts association last night.

There could be no guarantee about the long-term future of the film theatre in the Corn Exchange ­-specialist films could be screened at other venues.

Although the meeting was called to discuss the future of arts generally in the town, it was the future of the film theatre which dominated the sometimes-heated two-hour discussion.


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Members of the audience were concerned about the closure of the second screen and the failure to establish a new home for specialist cinema at the Odeon cinema, which closed at the end of August.

Council leisure spokeswoman Judy Terry told the meeting that the borough was committed to providing specialist cinema in Ipswich, but there were financial constraints.

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She said the audiences at the film theatre had not improved over recent years - and its losses could not be sustained in the long term.

Entertainments manager Billy Brennan told the meeting that a random survey carried out as part of the council's cultural review showed that 25 per cent of people felt the film theatre was very important to the cultural life of the town.

That compared with 59 pc who felt the Regent was vital, 47 pc for whom the New Wolsey was vital, and 34 pc who felt the Corn Exchange was vital to the town.

And corporate director Laurence Collins said that the audience for specialist cinema at the film theatre was about 25,000 people through the doors a year.

That only represented a small proportion of the population of Ipswich, assuming visitors came twice a year.

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