Upgraded Bridgnorth cinema back open after toughest-ever period

A cinema boss is reopening for what he hopes is the last time following the Prime Minister's further relaxation of coronavirus lockdown rules.

James Frizzell at the Majestic cinema in Bridgnorth which is back open
James Frizzell at the Majestic cinema in Bridgnorth which is back open

The Majestic Cinema in Bridgnorth, run by Reel Cinemas group, was today welcoming back customers to a varied schedule of films.

Following the latest government announcement naming today as the day theatres, cinemas and other indoor venues can reopen, manager James Frizzell has been working to ensure final preparations were in place for a safe welcome back.

Mr Frizzell, who cited the pandemic as the cinema's "biggest challenge" in its 84-year history, also said the share of the Government's Culture Recovery Fund earlier this year proved vital in ensuring the venue could reopen.

"We've been doing work on the building to make sure it's fit and proper for when people return," he said.

"There's been a brand new floor in screen one, work on the electrics and general maintenance and upkeep work throughout the building.

"The money from the government has been a great help in allowing us to make these vital changes."

The cinema, which sits in a 1930s Art Deco building on Whitburn Street, received about £115,000 from the Culture Recovery Fund, on top of a previous £10,000 survival grant last year.

Mr Frizzell, who begun his career as a projectionist at the cinema 14 years ago, said he hoped the business would be busier than previous reopenings throughout the pandemic.

He said: "I think people will be confident enough to come back this time, especially after everyone's had their jabs.

"I've always said once people see how safe we are there will be no worries and it's the same again.

"We really don't want to shut down again as it can't go on forever like this so let's hope this is the last time.

"We've just got to wait and see how it all goes but we've got a good selection of films and I think people just want to get back out – I think Peter Rabbit 2 will bring a few."

The cinema is also showing Spiral, Mortal Kombat and Godzilla vs. Kong, among a selection of children's films.

Its counterpart in Kidderminster, which was also run by Reel Cinemas and formerly managed by Mr Frizzell, fell victim to the financial toll of lockdown and was permanently closed last year.

"We've got a number of safety measures in place, including one-way systems, directional stickers, frequent screen cleans and face masks in place unless you're eating," he said.

"We'll be doing everything we can to make it a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone."

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