Cinema City management to be changed

Managers of Norwich's art house cinema are to hand over the day-to-day running of the business to another company.

Managers of Norwich's art house cinema are to hand over the day-to-day running of the business to another company, it emerged last night.

Cinema City director David Litchfield said that while the current management team would continue to run the cinema when it reopens after refurbishment next year, the business would be operated by Cambridge-based City Screen.

He also confirmed that "almost all the funding" was in place for the new cinema and that he hoped it would be open before next summer.

However, Mr Litchfield refused to confirm how much money had been raised, saying only that a "small amount" of cash was needed to plug the gap.

Cinema City has worked in partnership with City Screen, which operates a national circuit of independent cinemas, including the Cambridge Picturehouse, for three years.

And Mr Litchfield said the partnership had provided the cinema with advantageous deals on films and show prints earlier than would have been possible if it were program-ming in isolation.

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In a letter to Cinema City members, Mr Litchfield said the cinema's funding partners had noted the success of its partnership with City Screen and had asked them to extend it.

"We have agreed to this in return for some financial input to the cinema redevelopment from City Screen," he said.

"In practical terms this means that when the cinema reopens in 2006, the board will contract City Screen to operate the cinema on its behalf."

Mr Litchfield said the cinema would continue under the Cinema City name and that programming would not be affected by the move.

Last month, Mr Litchfield told the EDP that the refurbishment project had gone over budget and managers had been forced to obtain more Lottery funding.

He said increased prices for steel and other building issues had taken the cost of the scheme over the estimated £3m and had forced it to go back to the drawing board.

The announcement came just over a year after the small cinema closed to allow its development into a digitally-equipped facility with three screens.

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