Tickets for the first public screenings at the David Lean Cinema at the Clocktower in nearly three years go on sale tomorrow morning – a victory for the “little people”, and Ronnie Corbett.
The David Lean Cinema will be re-opened on March 27 in an embarrassing climbdown for Croydon’s Tory-run council, which has incurred potentially hundreds of thousands of pounds of public money in the costs of on-going security and maintenance for the much-loved venue and building, without any of the income from the arthouse cinema or its bar since council cabinet member Sara Bashford ordered its closure.
Prior to its closure in April 2011, the David Lean Cinema was successfully covering its costs with a programme of movies which might not otherwise enjoy a run at local multiplexes, while the bar generated some reasonable income for the council-run arts complex.
The closure was even criticised by Julian Fellowes, the Oscar-winning screenwriter and the man behind Downton Abbey, who is a Conservative peer in the House of Lords. He wrote to Croydon Council, saying, “The continuation of your support for the cinema would be a very, very minor element in your budget, while its loss to the community, and especially pensioners, will be very great,”
Croydon Council has even had to spend thousands of pounds more on the recalibration and repair of the cinema’s digital projector, after they had it moved to the Fairfield Halls (and for a while lost it) before discovering that such a specialised piece of kit, intended for the 66-seater auditorium, could not be readily adapted to work in a 700-seater music hall. The council’s mishandling and mismanagement of the cinema after its closure also deterred private companies from coming forward to run the venue commercially.
So much for the dogma of austerity policy.
The cinema is re-opening, albeit at first for a limited number of dates, thanks to three years of dogged lobbying by the ever-growing Save the David Lean Cinema Campaign, which was launched following Inside Croydon’s coverage of the closure and the reaction against it, including from local luvvie Ronnie Corbett.
Weekly screenings staffed by Campaign volunteers will commence on Thursday March 27 with Basically, Johnny Moped, the story of Croydon’s “lost legend of punk rock” (well, that’s if you believe the publicity blurb, which is never a good idea).
On the re-opening evening, the film will be followed by a Q&A session featuring the film’s director Fred Burns, Johnny Moped himself, and Captain Sensible, also known as Raymond Burns, or the father of the director.
Subsequent screenings will be at 2.30 and 7.30pm on Thursdays, and include 12 Years a Slave and the Italian film The Great Beauty, both of which are Oscar-nominated.
The full programme:
- Thu 27 & Fri 28 Mar: Basically, Johnny Moped (2013 UK)
- Thu 3 Apr: 12 Years a Slave (2013 USA/UK)
- Thu 10 Apr: The Great Beauty (2013 Italy)
- Thu 17 Apr: Inside Llewyn Davis (2013 USA)
- Thu 24 Apr: Short Term 12 (2013 USA)
The David Lean Campaign’s press release which made the announcement failed to state what price the tickets will be, nor whether there are any booking restrictions or concessions. But the Croydon Visitor Centre, next to East Croydon Station, will be operating as a box office for the cinema from tomorrow, with tickets costing £7.50 (less for OAPs and the disabled), although a £1.50 booking fee may be added to the cost.
- Ronnie Corbett calls for campaign to save David Lean Cinema
- Tory peer condemns “meaningless” cut at David Lean Cinema
- Bidders for David Lean Cinema deterred by council delays
- Lots of happy talk as residents do the Sensible thing
Coming to Croydon
- Fairtrade Film night, Antenna Cafe, Haynes Lane, Feb 27
- Fairtrade event, Upper Norwood Library, Mar 1
- Coulsdon and Purley Debating Society, Mar 3
- Patchwork and quilting workshop, Upper Norwood Library, Mar 3
- Fairtrade stall at Food Market, Haynes Lane, Mar 8
- Upper Norwood Library Book Club, Mar 15
- Norwood Society talk, Upper Norwood Library, Mar 20
- South Norwood Lakes Playground group workshop, Mar 25
- Croydon Half-marathon, Mar 30
- Crystal Palace Overground Festival, June 26-29
Inside Croydon: Croydon’s only independent news source, based in the heart of the borough: 516,649 page views (Jan-Dec 2013)
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