Much-loved Majestic shares in £16m boost for independent cinemas

Majestic Cinema manager, Tom Cundy. Picture: Ian Burt Photography

Tom Cundy, manager at the Majestic Cinema, which has been awarded a £104,826 grant to help it weather the pandemic - Credit: Ian Burt

A Norfolk cinema has received more than £100,000 to help it weather the pandemic.

More than 200 independents across the country are set to share £16m in grant funding from the government's £1.57bn culture recovery fund.

Among them is the Majestic, in King's Lynn, which has been awarded £104, 826.

Manager Tom Cundy said: "It's going to help us tremendously. It's been quiet, there's not been the numbers pre-Covid.

The Majestic Cinema in King's Lynn will be reopening soon. Picture: Ian Burt Photography

The Majestic Cinema in King's Lynn, which reopened in July after a major revamp - Credit: Ian Burt

"It will cover our PPE costs, help with the money we don't have coming in and make sure we can stay open as long as there's not another national lockdown."

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The art deco Majestic, which opened in 1928, is considered one of the most beautiful buildings in Lynn.

The cinema, on Tower Street,  reopened in July after being closed for six months for a revamp that saw it extended from two screens to four, with new lighting and sound systems.

The Majestic Cinema in King's Lynn will be reopening soon. Picture: Ian Burt Photography

The Majestic is one of King's Lynn's most beautiful buildings - Credit: Ian Burt

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Not all of its 619 seats can currently be used because of social distancing, while fewer people have been going to the pictures - partly because the pandemic has delayed the release of many new films.

Mr Cundy said ticket prices remained fixed at £4.50 despite falling footfall. He added: "The funding is helping us to get through this quiet period."  

Elizabeth Nockolds, West Norfolk council's portfolio holder for culture, heritage and health, said: "It's good because the Majestic is such a wonderful building.

"It's important to have a good, vibrant town centre for people to visit, help businesses and help heritage, it helps keep King's Lynn alive.

"Entertainment will be important one people can start getting out and about a bit more."

Across East Anglia, more than £1m is being given to cinemas. They include the Central Cinema, in Fakenham (£56,973); East Coast Cinema, in Lowestoft (£2,838); The Light, in Thetford (£7,164); The Light, in Wisbech (£7,164); Luxe Cinema, in Wisbech (£126,454); Orion Cinema, in Dereham (£25,260) Regal Movieplex, in Cromer (£69,200).

Culture secretary Oliver Dowden said: “The magic of film is such an important part of the festive period and this investment will help protect our independent cinemas so they're around for many Christmases to come."

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