New Era for Wotton's Cinema
At the end of March 2014, the century-old Electric Picture House Cinema in Wotton under Edge enters a new era. Successfully refurbished in 2002-2005 and then run by a dedicated team of volunteers, the cinema will be passing to a new management team, headed by Gareth Negus and Samantha Osborn.
Jeff Walshe, Chair of the Management Committee, explained: “When we reopened the cinema, it was always our intention to develop it to the point where it could be run as a commercial operation. Over the past 11 years, we have been lucky enough to have an extraordinarily dedicated team of volunteers who have worked to make the cinema an established success. Over the past year, we have come to realise that now is the time where the business needs full-time staff if it is to grow further and remain sustainable.”
A call for new management brought several expressions of interest, including Gareth and Sam. Gareth previously spent six years as Director of the Curzon Cinema in Clevedon, and has programmed films for cinemas around the country. He has been working with the Wotton Cinema as film booker and marketing consultant throughout 2013/14. Sam has been Operations Manager at the Curzon, and more recently Front of House Manager at the Watershed in Bristol.
Gareth said, “After years of working with independent cinemas and arts venues, I’ve seen how important they are for their local audiences. We don’t want to move away from the cinema’s community roots – we want to extend them, to offer more opportunities to see a wider range of films. We’ve been recruiting a new front of house team and are delighted that many of the existing volunteers will be staying with us in supportive roles.”
The cinema is now showing early evening screenings and will be running family matinees daily throughout the school holidays. The range of drinks available has been extended, with the addition of Fairtrade coffee, tea and hot chocolate.
The Wotton Cinema will now move up a gear. The new team will introduce means to expand the audience by showing new films closer to release dates and providing the opportunity to see films at different times and over 7 days a week. There will continue to be a wide selection of films available to attract an even larger audience.
The Management Committee, in handing over control of the Cinema to the new Team this month, wish them every good luck and success in the future.