Coming soon - a cinema for Swaffham

The first cinema in Swaffham for 40 years is due to open in February in a joint project by the area's Iceni Partnership and EcoTech Centre.

The first cinema in Swaffham for 40 years is due to open next month in a joint project by the area's Iceni Partnership and EcoTech Centre.

A survey is being organised among people to find out what types of film they would most like to see at the centre's 96-seat theatre and how much they are prepared to pay.

The venture was first suggested last October after public consultation organised by Iceni showed many local people wanted a cinema in the town.

The scheme – Iceni Cinema at EcoTech – will bring movies to Swaffham for the first time since the former Regal closed in the early 1960s.

It is part of a project to make the EcoTech building more relevant to the needs of the local community as well as a major centre for learning, business exhibitions and conferences promoting renewable energy.

A new era for the centre began last July when it reopened after financial problems forced its closure the previous October.

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Organisers believe the theatre, currently used only for business or educational purposes but with all the modern equipment needed to screen movies, will make an ideal cinema.

EcoTech executive director Andrew Twomey said: "We've had the intention of running a rural cinema here for some time. In talking with Iceni it seemed an ideal opportunity for us to develop something in partnership for people in the Swaffham district."

The survey – leaflets are being distributed with the current edition of Swaffham Town Council's newsletter and are available at Waitrose – sets out to discover how often people are likely to visit the cinema. It asks which evenings would be most popular, the best time for screenings and whether people are interested in a specialist film club and sessions for children.

Iceni chairman Tony Dickens said: "We want to get it right as early as possible. We need to book films in advance so we must have some idea of what will be most popular to be able to do that. We're hoping for a good response."

Leaflets can be sent to EcoTech at Turbine Way, Swaffham PE37 7HT, faxed to 01760 726109, or left at Swaffham library, Waitrose or posted at the tourist office by January 30. Forms will be entered in a draw for free tickets.

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