Petworth plans and cinema back at Capitol
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. thecapitolhorsham.com 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