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Wayne John, La Charette organiser
"The money will enable us to put in new equipment"
 real 28k

BBC Wales's arts correspondent Jon Gower
"Wayne John intends to keep the feel of a traditional cinema"
 real 56k

Thursday, 16 November, 2000, 15:53 GMT
Lottery cash for smallest cinema
smallest cinema, Gorseinon
La Charette remains as popular as ever
The smallest cinema in Wales - housed in a railway carriage in a back garden in Gorseinon - has just found the means to come into the video age.

Courtesy of an 8,000 grant from the National Lottery, La Charette cinema is planning to change to both video and DVD formats.

La Charette has been offering an intimate film-going experience to the village of Gorseinon since it was established in 1953.

Set behind a row of terraced houses, it spells out its name in lights just at the end of the drive.

A full house means just 23 people, yet every weekend all seats are taken.

Tony Paultyn has been a member since 1981 and he enjoys the charm of the small cinema in the age of the multiscreen.

Ken Howells has been coming to La Charette - which means wagon in French - for 42 years.

Wayne John, projectionist
Wayne John, projectionist: Traditional way
When he was growing up in Llanelli there were cinemas aplenty, now there are only multiplexes.

You would expect an old cinema like La Charette to be showing classic films like Casablanca and Brief Encounter.

Yet the films on show are bang up-to-date.

Indeed for Mary Lewis - a regular over the decades - her favourite movie was screened only last year.

"The latest film with Michael Caine - The Cider House Rules - was marvellous.

Surround sound

"We're not out in the back of beyond, we're up-to-date," she said.

Wayne John, who runs the cinema, said the lottery grant has been a lifeline and would enable La Charette to continue as the only independent cinema in the area.

"It'll enable us to put in new equipment like a new video projection system and Dolby surround sound," he said.

But traditional cinemagoers need not worry as Mr John intends to keep the feel of a traditional cinema in his programming - every screening will start with a short film before the main feature is shown.

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