Plymouth Arts Cinema would not be here without its amazing and dedicated team of volunteers.
To mark Volunteers’ Week 2022, we asked them for their stories: why they volunteer at PAC, and what it means to them. We will all be getting together to watch a film and celebrate their kind support in a few weeks’ time!
We would like to thank all of our volunteers, whether they have been helping out for 44 years or 4 weeks.
I can’t remember exactly when started volunteering at the Arts Cinema, or the Arts Centre, as it was then known. If I were to guess, I’d say it was about a decade ago. I definitely remember it was before the first Hobbit movie was released. Ushering at the Arts Cinema, to me, means being exposed to films I wouldn’t see otherwise and having that entertainment once a week.
Sascha Von Lieven-Knapp
I have enjoyed the eclectic range of films and amiable atmosphere of the Arts Cinema since arriving in Plymouth a few years ago and was lucky enough join the team as a volunteer usher recently. Being able to watch films from Sudan, the Middle East, Iceland, Japan and many other places around the world locally is just amazing. And who’d have thought that you can watch films in a Lido at night with the sea right next to you? Organisations like Plymouth Arts Cinema need all the support they can get to continue and thrive – giving a bit of my time and becoming a tiny cog in the team is definitely worth it.
Allen Pollock is our longest serving usher, having started in 1978, and is a self confessed film buff, watching around 450 films a year.
You can read an interview with him here:
Watch a video of his memories of cinema in Plymouth through the years here: https://plymouthartscinema.org/plymouth-cinema-memories/
The first thing I did when I arrived from France to Plymouth, was to find an Arts Centre. Indeed, films have always been a passion of mine, especially foreign ones (French, Italian, Greek, German, Scandinavian…etc) as well as quirky British ones.
I have been a volunteer for a few years now, mainly working at the reception in Looe Street, as well as ushering. I witnessed many changes, new Directors, met friendly and even “crazy” customers, other volunteers and staff (some being quite “bonkers” themselves). No names supplied!
It has been a very interesting experience working in the old building: I was even caught in a “hold up” when 2 drug addicts decided to rob the till one early evening. They partially succeeded by nearly emptying the till, although, while running out to escape the building they dropped a few notes and some cheques on the floor! From a counselling place I had to attend, I received a small alarm (lasting a month) as well as a long lasting bulb: to this day, I never understood why?! … Three weeks later, I also went to the police: I was given a huge book full of ID photos (quite old) in order to recognize the possible culprits. After one hour of looking at so many pictures, I said to the police that everyone could have been guilty. (they were not too impressed with my performance…)
…But a good enough scenario for an Arts Centre !
I have volunteered with the Plymouth Arts Cinema for over 15 years after being a regular to the cinema as a customer back when it was in its original building.
I’ve continued to volunteer as I love that I’m supporting the local Arts and also that, as a reward for that, I am able to watch a new film each week. The films at the Arts Centre are always thought provoking, whether it’s because I loved them or hated them, and that’s what the arts should do, provoke an emotion. I love that we have our regulars who come week after week, which allow relationships to build and that the paid staff are so dedicated to their roles. I look forward to every Wednesday evening. What’s not to love….