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Rebecca Marshall outside Electric Palace cinema in Hastings Old Town in 2016

Electric Palace cinema calls on community for support to save it from closure

With news of nationwide closures of the Cineworld and Picturehouses cinema chains, The Electric Palace cinema in Hastings Old Town is now calling on the local community to visit and support the cinema or it faces imminent closure, says Annie Waite.

Run by a small team of five staff and a dedicated and passionate army of volunteers who steward at each screening, the independent cinema after lockdown was able to reopen its doors at the end of August, but instead of operating at its previous full capacity of 48 seats, the cinema is limited to only having 15 tickets available per screening because of spacing safety measures due to Covid19.

As it has been unable to operate at its previous full capacity since reopening, and with safety measures unlikely to be able to relax anytime this year, the Electric Palace now faces mounting building rental, film licencing costs and other overheads that were previously viable. Unless all its planned current season of films sell out, the cinema will be unable to continue into 2021 and will likely close in December this year.

The cinema’s owner and founder, local film director Rebecca E Marshall has released the following statement on the Electric Palace website:

A screening post lockdown with safety measures applied

“I want to say a heartfelt thank you to all our staff and volunteers for working so hard to make the cinema feel such a safe and welcoming place in these difficult circumstances. I’ve had great feedback from our audience who are delighted to come in and feel safe in our space with other film lovers, enjoying the serenity and transformative power of watching a film in a darkened room.

“I was born in Hastings and when we opened the cinema back in 2002, I didn’t dream that such a small venue would still be successfully running 18 years later! Hastings has changed and grown so much during this time, and I am proud to offer an affordable, welcoming night out – an evening that often ends with a round of applause for the film, and a post-film chat. This has always warmed my heart.

“With the security of our customers at the forefront of our mind, we are selling only 15 tickets per event so everyone is ensured of a two-metre space around them.

“However, these safety measures mean that we are currently running at a big loss. We need every screening filled up, and we need extra support from you to donate to us, or become an official friend of the cinema through our website.

Rebecca Marshall in mask at Electric Palace cinema

Rebecca Marshall in mask at Electric Palace cinema

“I am passionate about The Electric Palace cinema, because it helps to keep the appreciation of cinema alive in its most provoking, challenging and entertaining forms. Through sharing stories both big and small, cinema helps connect us to our communities, as well as to people around the world. The Electric Palace is a very special place with a rich and colourful history, and it has brought so many people together.

“Please support us now. Come and enjoy a film that might be outside of your usual comfort zone, and help keep our doors open.”

Electric Palace Marketing Manager, Annie Mannion, adds:

“The Electric Palace staff and volunteers wish to extend heartfelt thanks for everyone’s support so far for its reopening, but if you want this much-loved community asset to continue, we really need you to visit us now. Please come along to screenings, take a risk on a film that’s out of your comfort zone, bring a friend, book a private hire session as a gift for a loved one, buy gift vouchers as presents, donate to us, share our screenings on social media to raise awareness, or become an official Friend of the Electric Palace cinema.”

Become an official Friend of the Electric Palace cinema.

Donate to the Electric Palace.

See What’s On at the Electric Palace.

Some comments about the Electric Palace from its supporters:

  • “Finest venue in Sussex. The Electric Palace is not just a great party venue and a fun place to visit in the Old Town, it’s probably the best independent cinema I know. With seasons for everyone from big film buffs to small children, it’s got everything you want from a brilliant cinema.” – Emmy-award winning comedy writer, author and music journalist, and Hastings resident, David Quantick
  • “Over the years I have laughed and cried and been angry and also amazed and astounded and uplifted and just wanted to say ‘thank you Electric Palace for such treasured memories’” – David Hazleton, Electric Palace regular visitor
  • “The Electric Palace has been an invaluable partner and cinema base for Afrikaba Film Screenings, which showcase black film from the UK and around the world. The Electric Palace is an old school cinema with modern ideas and family values.” – Gwyneth Wint, founder of Afrikaba
  • “The Electric Palace has been, and still is, such a big part of my life. Their support has made my world, and the thousands of people who use the cinema each year, a far richer place to live in.” – Glenn Veness, Filmmaker
  • “Lovely interior, deep red, with lovely lighting and a great intimate space to relax in with like-minded people. Lovely to connect with customers who love good film.” – Geraldine Frankin, Electric Palace Volunteer

Upcoming Electric Palace special events:

Meet the directors and other special guests at screenings over the next few weeks:

Chalkboard showing details about listings for Electric Palace cinema and message 'Save the Electric Palace: We Need You' on it

Electric Palace chalkboard depicting this week’s listings and news

  • Southern Journey Revisited: 17 and 18 October, with a chance to meet the directors. This film retraces the route of the “Southern Journey” song-collecting trip undertaken by Hastings folk icon Shirley Collins with Alan Lomax in 1959.
  • Outside the City: 22 and 23 October, meet director Nick Hamer who filmed a group of monks over 12 months.
  • On the Basis of Sex 29 October. Find out more about the incredible late Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s fight for equality in this fascinating biopic.
  • Tampopo: 1 November. Pick of the Month by the cinema director Rebecca Marshall: “This is a wonderful and unexpectedly refreshing story that made me laugh out loud!”
  • The Long Goodbye 28 November. Meet crime author William Shaw as he introduces this noir mystery, one of the outstanding American films of its era.
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Posted 21:49 Monday, Oct 12, 2020 In: Arts News

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