By Paul Spalding
The David Lean Cinema is aiming to re-open its doors to film-goers next month.
The 68-seat arthouse venue, whose varied programme is managed by volunteers, has been closed since the start of the covid-19 pandemic in March, but the volunteer group is in talks with Croydon Council about the financial viability of welcoming back the general public.
With restrictions on capacity and the requirement for social distancing, the people running the David Lean Cinema are concerned that offering screenings with perhaps fewer than 30 tickets available would fail to cover the venue’s costs.
“We are in the early stages of planning the reopening of the David Lean Cinema and are urrently discussing this with Croydon Council, as owners of the building which houses the cinema,” David Lavelli, of the Save the David Lean Cinema Campaign, told Inside Croydon.
The council has been slower to open some of its arts, culture and sports facilities following the coronavirus than other London boroughs. The Fairfield Halls is in “hibernation” until 2021, half the borough’s libraries are shut, and not all the council-owned leisure centres, swimming pools or athletics venues have reopened.
Lavelli said that the David Lean Cinema Campaign hoopes to reopen in October “… depending on whether we can make this financially viable while obeying the hygiene and social distancing rules”.
The purpose-built cinema is in the Town Hall’s Clocktower arts complex on Katharine Street. It’s re-opening will come three months after other cinemas around the country started to operate under social distancing rules in July, including the likes of the Everyman Cinema in Crystal Palace.
It is not the first time the David Lean Cinema has faced a threat to its future.
Opened in 1995 and named in honour of Sir David Lean, one of the greatest directors in film history, who was born in Croydon, the venue was closed in 2011 due to council funding cuts. A campaign by local film enthusiasts, helped by Inside Croydon, brought about its re-opening in 2014.
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