Movies are returning to the silver screen in a Kent town after a newspaper campaign spanning three years.
Five years ago the only cinema in Gravesend closed down after a decline in business due in large part to its proximity to Bluewater shopping centre, prompting the Gravesend Reporter to launch a campaign to reopen it.
Led by Kieron Butler, a local teenager aged just 15 at the time, over 5,000 petition signatures were collected calling for the cinema to be reinstated.
Their hopes looked all but dashed though in January 2006 after arsonists set fire to the former cinema building which has sat derelict ever since.
Now Gravesham Borough Council has announced ‘Monday Night at the Movies’ – a four-date trial in the town’s Woodville Halls theatre where it will show High School Musical 3 and Quantum of Solace, co-starring former Gravesend school pupil Gemma Arterton.
The council has already said that it will consider buying projection equipment to make the movie screenings a permanent fixture if the trial shows are well-attended.
Editor Melody Foreman said: “We ran a campaign saying the town should have a cinema and we got plenty of support behind it.
“Bluewater has a mega complex cinema but there was still some passion to keep the cinema in Gravesend and we did what we could as a local paper to keep some of the town’s identity.
“It’s quite easy to just go to the big cinema but the council is trying and is going to bring in some of the latest films.
“I’m not sure what arrangement they’ve got with movie distributors to keep up with Bluewater as that’s going to be the problem.
“I think they’ve got their toe in the water of it becoming a permanent fixture.”
Mark (22/01/2009 08:16:12)
We need a proper cinema, not a few showings a week at a theatre.The original site should be regenerated.