This week the government has announced that in England, cinemas can open from July 4th (subject to safeguards). Here at Plymouth Arts Cinema we will be opening in September. We want to let you know what PAC’s plans are and why we will not be reopening immediately.
Since our last screening on March 14th, the PAC team has been working throughout lockdown to create a safe pathway to re-opening. We are working with insights and advice from national partner organisations like the BFI, the UK Cinema Exhibitors Association and with regional and local advisors too from BFI Hub in Bristol, to Plymouth City Council and our host venue Plymouth College of Art.
We are spending time talking to our colleagues and fellow venues in the Independent Cinema sector, most of whom are also planning September opening. This is helping us all gather as much information as we can and support each other through the coming months to build up independent cinemas after this major period of upheaval. We will be working on a re-opening campaign with the whole independent cinema sector.
There are discussions taking place in the coming weeks with film distributors and the wider industry to understand the impact on film availability and audience behaviours in this new post lockdown world.
You may be asking why, when multiplexes are opening in July, PAC is waiting until September.
The summer months are always traditionally quiet for independent cinema. As you know, for the past 10 years, PAC has closed during most of July and August due to this. We used those months to run Open Air Cinema events. This year we are taking the time to create new safety guidelines and then we will be training our wonderful staff and volunteers to be able to run all aspects of our cafe, bar and cinema safely and appropriately.
While we are all desperate to get back to the cinema, it is vital that the safety of our staff, volunteers and audience is the biggest priority in any plans we make. We want to make sure that when we do open, we get it right for everyone. All the measures we put in place will be made public well ahead of our re-opening, and we will give you the opportunity to ask questions and share your comments, suggestions and concerns with us. Once we re-open, we will keep inviting your feedback and will continually review our approach as government guidance evolves.
We have had such support and kind words from so many of you. It has meant so very much to the staff and volunteers, we can’t thank you enough.
Thank you for all your kind donations, and if you would like to help us further, please pledge towards our Crowdfunder which we are running so that we can invite 300 of Plymouth’s key workers to a cinema trip when we are open again. At the time of writing, we are 92% of the way towards our goal!
We can’t wait until the day we welcome you all back and start screening films again and will let you know the exact details of the opening date and the programme as soon as we are able.
In the meantime, please do check out our website and social media pages for some lovely film titbits, and Sofa Cinema suggestions.
The PAC Team