Community cinema gets £5k award

A welcome gift has been unwrapped by Morpeth Community Cinema in the form of a £5,000 grant.

The funding has been awarded by the British Film Institute (BFI) to buy equipment.

The monthly film nights at Morpeth Town Hall were set up with the help of Doorstep Pictures, run by Blyth Valley Arts and Leisure, which has loaned equipment and provided technical expertise over the past three years.

Now the BFI’s Neighbourhood Cinema Equipment Fund grant will enable cinema organiser the Greater Morpeth Development Trust (GMDT) to buy its own projector, large screen, Blu-Ray player and sound system.

It is hoped the kit will result in more films being shown, or screening extended to neighbouring communities.

GMDT Arts and Culture Director Frank Rescigno said: “It’s fantastic news.

“It will enable us to take the cinema forward in a number of different ways.

“When we started the cinema project we wanted to give Morpeth people the chance to regularly see top-rated movies on their own doorsteps without having to travel to cinemas on Tyneside.

“Having equipment of our own will enable us to perhaps show more films or take the cinema further out into the community in smaller village venues around Morpeth.”

For details about screenings or volunteering call (01670) 503866.

Mr Rescigno added: “From day one we had fantastic support from Doorstep Pictures who provided the equipment, technician and selected films at a discounted rate to help get us going. They were supportive in teaching us the ropes as to how to run a successful community cinema.

“Since then the response from local people has been wonderfully supportive and the cinema has gone from strength to strength to now become a valued community facility in Morpeth and a popular and regular monthly night out for film fans.”

GMDT now hopes to work with a local restaurant to provide a pre-cinema dining package. It is also keen to enlist more volunteers for the cinema, with full training provided for potential equipment operators.