Abingdon film-fans will be spoilt for choice from July as the Abbey Hall’s immediate future is confirmed, while the historic Guildhall opens for hire.
On going discussions with the Regal Cinema came to a conclusion with Abingdon Town Council agreeing in principle to the Abbey Hall housing the cinema until summer 2020.
The deal is subject to a formal legal agreement but works have already begun to enable the cinema to move in.
Sue Wiper of the Regal Cinema said: “We are absolutely thrilled, we’re beyond delighted.
“There’s work that we need to have done, we have to order a load of technical equipment and seating, which we’re on to, but subject to getting the ink on the page then it’s all agreed in principle.”
Although no exact date has been set until the agreement is signed and sealed, the cinema is hoping to launch in July.
The much larger Abbey Hall screen will work in tandem with the cinema’s existing residency at the Unicorn Theatre in Abingdon, providing two screens showing different films.
Sue added: “The agreement that we have with the Unicorn is on going and we will be carrying on with that as long as they will have us.
“It’s a fantastic venue, the acoustics are brilliant, it’s so atmospheric and unique. The advantage of having both locations is that we can show a greater variation of films.”
Sue added that the Regal has an “excellent relationship” with the town council and that The Friends of Abingdon Civic Society – which manages the Abbey buildings – have been “massively supportive”.
“Assuming it’s a success and if the council don’t end up using it for whatever else they want to do with it in two years time, then we would certainly hope to be able to extend beyond summer 2020,” she said.
The cinema has already held two recruitment days and is continuing to recruit “about 30 or 40 locals” in manager roles, marketing positions, bar and technical staff for the Abbey Hall cinema.
The council also revealed the adjoining Guildhall rooms will be available to hire for individuals, community groups and other events later this year.
Abingdon Town Council has spent around £1million renovating the building and is now seeking a business to run the site.
Organisations with experience managing similar facilities can return Expressions of Interest to the council by 5pm on May 18.
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