Leiston Film Theatre Support Club celebrates its 21st anniversary

Aug 2013

Leiston Film Theatre Support Club is about to celebrate 21 successful years of incredible fundraising for Leiston Film Theatre.

The Club was formed as an independent organisation in October 1992, as a result of a public meeting.  The Film Theatre was in need of comprehensive refurbishment and major investment and the meeting had been called, to determine how local people could assist in improving the town’s cinema.

The Club quickly formed a committee and agreed aims which formed the constitution.  These included promoting the Film Theatre so that it did not become in danger of closing and helping to improve facilities and interior decoration to be achieved through a programme of ambitious fundraising and club membership.

It has successfully adhered to its aims.  Over the 21 years the club have held everything from coffee mornings and prize bingo, to archive film shows and concerts.  Club members have enjoyed sausage sizzles, barbecues, social evenings with guest speakers and presentations of various kinds. Club membership has steadily increased with many members of long standing.

Over £140.000 has been raised over the past 21 years ensuring that this unique asset, which celebrates its magnificent centenary next year, continues to develop and move forward for the benefit of the local community and the many thousands of followers, who visit it annually.

The Club has helped finance some of the biggest changes to the venue. Interior refurbishment has been extensive with the biggest restoration being in the auditorium, which has been transformed into a versatile, modern and comfortable venue, which boasts the very latest in cinema technology, enabling it to become the only 3D cinema in a 25 mile radius.  In recent years financial help has been given towards refurbishment of the toilet facilities, computer equipment and in-house sound system for live shows. In 2006 the Club’s Set-the-Stage project was launched with £33,000 being raised for major overhaul of the venue’s stage facilities, including lighting, tracking, stage electrics and plush stage curtains.

The Club is currently assisting the Film Theatre through a Digital 3D Project which was launched in January 2010. This is to meet the repayments of a £40,000 loan, taken out by the Town Council, to meet the cost of installing a digital projector and Dolby 3D equipment which was undertaken in the September.  The total cost of the project being £75,000 of which the council contributed £25,000 and the Club an initial £10,000.

The Club has been successful in gaining patrons and is delighted that they support our efforts and in turn the Leiston Film Theatre.  The first was the journalist and broadcaster Libby Purves OBE in 2002, the most recent the popular actor Bill Nighy. They join a very high profile list including Emma Freud OBE, Nathaniel Parker, Helen McDermott and Peggy Cole MBE, all of whom are fans of this gem of independent cinema.

In this special year for the Club, to mark the occasion there will be a ‘Coming of Age’ event on Saturday 21st September, where a special exhibition will be held at the Leiston Community Centre between 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.  Everybody is welcome to come along to learn how the Club has supported the Film Theatre over the past 21 years. There will be a variety of static displays together with albums of photographs, a time-line history and archive documents. Committee members look forward to meeting members and visitors alike and will be pleased to answer any questions.  Entry is free and light refreshments will be available.

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