Page last updated at 13:20 GMT, Thursday, 22 December 2005

A happy ending for local cinema

Coliseum cinema Porthmadog
The Coliseum cinema had been threatened with closure

The future of a community cinema looks brighter after an appeal for support from local people.

Falling attendances had been threatening the Coliseum cinema in Porthmadog, which opened in 1931.

"We've managed to get the message out to local people in particular, that if they don't use it the place will close," said one of the voluntary directors Emyr Williams.

He said that there had been a turnaround since the summer.

Built by local entrepreneur Capt. W E Pritchard, the Coliseum was saved from closure by local people 20 years ago and it retains many of its original features..

It would be a shame if it closed, it's the type of cinema I used to go to when I was a girl
Jill Williams, Llan Ffestiniog

"Over the past three to four years we realised we were not making money, in fact we were losing it," said Mr Williams.

"By the middle of the summer things looked bleak and we thought we might have to close.

"But luckily some good films came out and we took a chance and showed them and had queues outside," he added.

Tourists who use the cinema are seen as "icing on the cake" but the cinema relies on the support of local people.

"We've managed to get the message over to local people in particular, if you don't use the place it will close," said Mr Williams.

Jill Williams from Llan Ffestiniog, said: "It would be a shame if it closed, it's the type of cinema I used to go to when I was a girl, and they seem to get a lot of good block busters really quickly".

Emyr Williams, director Coliseum cinema Porthmadog
Voluntary director Emyr Williams wants continued local support

Vivien Emmerson from Trefor added: "It's such a lovely cinema although it needs refurbishment.

"This type of thing is very important to the community, it's something we should want to retain. How boring it would be if we just went to get a video out."

Some work has been done to freshen up the cinema with staff giving up their spare time to repaint the interior.

Local businesses have also rallied round. A supermarket supports publicity leaflets, a local darts team as well as a charity trust have donated money and a local DIY shop donated paint for the redecoration.

Mr Williams said he was still looking for more support.

'Old fashioned atmosphere'

"There is a reserve now and it will enable us to continue," he said.

"But we are faced with constant expenditure the whole time. A bulb for the projection room costs £300 for instance, there is something all the time.

"The whole area is waking up to the need to keep this place going however, we're now having people who used to come here as children, so they are coming back.

"Hopefully this is because we are different. It's because they want to see a film in an old fashioned atmosphere.

"We intend to keep it going for as long as possible, if we get the support of the local community."



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