Regal Cinema hopes for windfall

A SUFFOLK cinema undergoing a dramatic change in fortunes is today waiting to hear if a £100,000 refurbishment funding bid is successful.The Regal Theatre complex in Stowmarket was facing closure a year ago as it was revealed it was running at a loss of £47,000 a year.

A SUFFOLK cinema undergoing a dramatic change in fortunes is today waiting to hear if a £100,000 refurbishment funding bid is successful.

The Regal Theatre complex in Stowmarket was facing closure a year ago as it was revealed it was running at a loss of £47,000 a year.

Today, the theatre is reporting growing visitor numbers and is planning a major refurbishment to include a new heating system and new carpeting and seating.

Tom Offord, theatre management consultant, is overseeing a bid for cash to the UK Film Council. Hopes are high as a £150,000 bid to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs was rejected last year.

Mr Offord said: “If it was successful we would revamp the heating system, have major decorations internally and make it more suitable for disabled people.

“We are looking for matched funding so we would raise £100,000, with the help of the town council and possibly Mid Suffolk District Council, and then the UK Film Council would match it.

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“The council provides money for cinemas, particularly smaller ones, that are trying to improve.”

New figures show that for the six months between August and January - since a new sound system was installed - film admissions increased by 92pc compared to same period last year.

Mr Offord said: “We are very pleased with the figures, they are building up nicely. We are getting a lot of support from the community and visitors are coming back to us so we are quietly optimistic for the future.

“January was a good month for film attendances and, looking ahead, we have some good films coming up.

“As regards to live shows, dates are now fixed for the year for most of our regular live performers.

“We are looking to see how we can fill any gaps with professional productions so we can make the best use of time and broaden the variety of shows on offer.”

What do you think of the changes made at the Regal Theatre? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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