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Cinema to open in old Oswestry comunity centre

Oswestry | News | Published:

A new 100-seater cinema looks set to open in Shropshire later this year in a former community centre.

Kinoculture has agreed a five-year lease for the Kingswell Centre building in Arthur Street, Oswestry, which has been empty for three years.

And project bosses have said the new venue could also be brought back into wider community use as a meeting space for youth projects, talks and other meetings.

Ian Garland, technical director of Kinoculture, said he envisages the centre being used regularly by many of the groups who used it before it closed.

He said: "It saddened me when Kingswell closed and many of our volunteers who had been to the centre or who had children involved in activities there were sad.

"We want to resurrect using it like it was before.

"We will use it as a theatre but it's also about bringing it back into community use for other functions like lecture space for groups like U3A, because we'll have very good AV facilities to do presentations and talks.

"We're developing youth film projects as well in the town and so they will be able to use the centre."

Kinoculture is currently based at the Attfield Theatre on Bailey Head, where it screens films and associated talks and events.

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But Mr Garland said there would be many benefits to moving into the much larger centre from the Attfield.

"It's a massive space – you could probably fit four Attfields in there," he said.

"We do get the demand for seats and have sell-out shows, but the main problem about working from the Attfield is that it's a shared space with the Attfield Theatre Company and they're set-building and having their own productions so we have to programme a film and then work with someone else to make sure we can fit it in.

"With this new centre we will be freed up to programme things a lot more and gives us more artistic control."

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Mr Garland said they were aiming for a mid-May opening.

"There's a lot of work to do on the premises. It's been sadly neglected for a number of years and empty for three years," he said.

"There's no heating in there so we need to sort that out.

"We're looking forward to it. It's very scary but exciting."

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