Pet­worth plans and cinema back at Capi­tol

West Sussex County Times - - The Guide - Phil He­witt

Hor­sham’s Capi­tol has an­nounced the re­open­ing of its cinema on Fri­day, July 17 with Star Wars Episode V: The Em­pire Strikes Back. The film will be shown on the large screen in The Capi­tol The­atre with so­cial­ly­dis­tanced seat­ing.

A se­ries of re­runs is also be­ing planned as well as ma­jor movies as and when they are re­leased.

The an­nounce­ment fol­lows the eas­ing of the so­ciald­is­tanc­ing re­stric­tions from two me­tres to a min­i­mum of one me­tre.

The full range of health and safety mea­sures pub­lished by the UK Cinema As­so­ci­a­tion, and agreed by gov­ern­ment, will be in place ready for the re-open­ing. The mea­sures en­sure so­cial dis­tanc­ing at ev­ery point dur­ing a visit to The Capi­tol and in­clude con­tact­less pay­ments, safety sig­nage, seat­ing ca­pac­ity lim­its, stag­gered film start and end time and en­hanced clean­ing and hy­giene regimes.

As well as putting safety mea­sures in place to pro­tect both au­di­ences and staff mem­bers alike, the op­por­tu­nity has been taken to re­fresh the front-of-house ar­eas whilst they have been closed Book­ing de­tails and more safety in­for­ma­tion, in­clud­ing a film show­ing the new ar­range­ments, will be avail­able on www. the­capi­tol­hor­ from July 10.

Pet­worth Fes­ti­val artis­tic di­rec­tor Ste­wart Collins has wel­comed the news of the gov­ern­ment’s cash ‘life­line’ for the cul­tural sec­tor.

He said he hoped the whole cri­sis might help change gov­ern­ment at­ti­tudes to a ne­glected in­dus­try.

At the week­end, the gov­ern­ment un­veiled a £1.57bn sup­port pack­age to help pro­tect the fu­tures of UK the­atres, gal­leries, mu­se­ums and other cul­tural venues. Cul­ture Sec­re­tary Oliver Dow­den said the aim was to pre­serve the “crown jewels” in the UK’s arts sec­tor as well as local venues.

The Pet­worth Fes­ti­val was one of the scores of fes­ti­vals wiped out by the coro­n­avirus cri­sis.

It was due to open next week (July 14-Au­gust 1) but was can­celled in the depths of the cri­sis back in March.

“What I would say, just from read­ing the com­ments, is that I am pleased that this money is at the up­per end of what peo­ple in the in­dus­try were ex­pect­ing,” Ste­wart said.

“We have not seen the de­tails, but it is great that the need has been recog­nised. It is great that the Chan­cel­lor has see fit to fol­low what has been done in other coun­tries as well. Our coun­try has got one of the largest arts sec­tors go­ing.

“But I have been quite sur­prised through­out the grad­ual loos­en­ing of lock­down just how lit­tle ref­er­ence has been made to the cul­tural in­dus­try. It is one of the most vi­brant sec­tors in the whole of the econ­omy.

“But I am afraid we con­tinue what has been seen through the gen­er­a­tions. I re­mem­ber when they first in­tro­duced the idea of a Cul­ture Sec­re­tary, cul­ture was seen as be­ing all about tourism and bring­ing peo­ple into the coun­try. There has al­ways been a cer­tain blind­ness to the fact that it is a re­ally im­por­tant sec­tor to ev­ery­one and some­thing that the whole coun­try should be cel­e­brat­ing. There has been a block­age at gov­ern­ment level. Ca­reer politi­cians are not nec­es­sar­ily great at­ten­ders of the the­atre or dance.”

Ste­wart stresses that it re­mains to be seen what the real fall-out of the cri­sis on the arts will be: “But cer­tainly un­til this an­nounce­ment it was look­ing ab­so­lutely ghastly for the the­atre sec­tor.”

Star Wars Episode V: The Em­pire Strikes Back

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