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Last Updated: Sunday, 3 February 2008, 08:46 GMT
100-year-old cinema closure fight
Theatre Royal in Barry (pic courtesy of Nigel Gabriel)
The cinema has been entertaining people for a century
Campaigners are fighting to save a 100-year-old independent cinema from closure.

In Barry in the Vale of Glamorgan, 4,000 people have already signed a petition to prevent the Theatre Royal closing in April.

Managers who have been told the lease has run out are hoping the discovery of an old Edwardian theatre on the site will help keep the cinema open.

The cinema leaseholder Brian Bull has refused to comment.

Wendy Marsh, a part-time duty manager at the cinema, said they were told just over two weeks ago that the cinema is to close its doors on 10 April.

Ms Marsh said she understood two shops and four offices next to the cinema had also been told they would have to leave because their lease expired, although they would be able to stay for longer.

She said they had been unable to get information on who actually owned the land on which the cinema stands, but she also believed there were plans to develop it.

We have already lost most of the towns identity with the closure of Butlins and the decline of the Barry Island
Wendy March

Mrs Marsh said: "It's ridiculous. Why shut this cinema down. Many of the children who use it come from Gibbonsdown and Cadoxton and they won't be able to afford the charges of the big multiplexes in Cardiff."

She said the cinema was often used by young people living in the town and there was even have a designated room where they could leave their bicycles.

She added: "We have already lost most of the towns identity with the closure of Butlins and the decline of the Barry Island, and also the Lido which is now a waterlogged mess."

Staff at Theatre Royal recently discovered an old Edwardian Theatre with ornate coving still intact at the back of one of the screens, she added.

"There is also a ballroom which runs underneath the whole of the building, we have informed Cadw who will be doing a spot check to see if the building has the criteria to be listed."

When contacted by BBC Wales, Mr Bull refused to comment, saying he preferred to keep private matters out of the public eye.

Mr Bull, used to run the Monico cinema in Rhiwbina in Cardiff, as well as cinemas in Swansea and Bargoed and was presented with the Anthony Hopkins Award for his services to Welsh film culture in 2005.

Listen to the campaigners' argument

Bingo slump forces cinema closure
01 Feb 08 |  North West Wales

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