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Landscape (UK) - - Contents - Words: San­dra Smith Pho­tog­ra­phy: James Cor­bett

elec­tri­cians, of­fered their ser­vices. Ini­tial work in­volved tear­ing down the par­ti­tion walls and re­plac­ing the gas and elec­tric­ity sys­tems and drains. Bro­ken plas­ter­work was also re­stored from floor to ceil­ing. Of the cinema’s in­te­rior fit­tings, both the shell lights and stucco waves are orig­i­nal. How­ever, the chan­de­lier was long lost, so a new one was in­stalled with pe­riod-style mir­rors. With the ab­sence of the orig­i­nal foyer, a new en­trance was cre­ated on the side of the build­ing, with out­side steps lead­ing up to cir­cle level. To raise funds, seat sponsorshi­p was sold at prices rang­ing from £300-500. Some res­i­dents of­fered loans, all of which were even­tu­ally paid back. Even­tu­ally £7,000 was raised which cov­ered the cost of new seats, a dig­i­tal pro­jec­tor and screen.

Lo­cal con­nec­tion

The Rex re-opened in 2004 with The Third Man. The screen­play was writ­ten by au­thor Gra­ham Greene, who was born in the town. With the open­ing came a new con­cept: light re­fresh­ments served dur­ing the screen­ings. “Be­cause some peo­ple come here straight from work, we started of­fer­ing cheese and bis­cuits with wine,” says James. “This re­mains ridicu­lously pop­u­lar. We also sell the sort of snacks you would ex­pect, such as popcorn, though ev­ery­thing is de­canted from crinkly pack­ets into tubs to make the least noise.” The cir­cle’s 200 seats are spaced so oc­cu­pants can stretch out with­out touch­ing the one in front, while the stalls ac­com­mo­date an­other 100 film fans. A visit to The Rex aims to pro­vide a re­laxed am­bi­ence in stylish sur­round­ings. Mod­ern-day film-go­ers are en­ter­tained in a cinema where sym­pa­thetic in­te­rior ren­o­va­tion re­flects its au­then­tic Art Deco ex­te­rior. It has cap­tured an era which re­flects the golden age of the screen.

In the stalls, ta­bles are swathed in white table­cloths and dot­ted with small lamps. The riot of dec­o­ra­tion in­cludes scal­lop-shaped light fit­tings and stucco waves.

The scal­lop-shaped light fit­tings are orig­i­nals (top). The geo­met­ric shapes of this light are typ­i­cal of the Art Deco pe­riod (above).

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