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New Cinema Screen Opens in Bury St Edmunds

One of the county's oldest cinemas will open a brand new Premier screen following months of development work.

Abbeygate Cinema opens its new Premier Screen on Friday 31 July and it is an impressive addition to the popular cinema in Hatter Street which currently boasts 2 screens.

The new auditorium has many dramatic features including theatrical curtains and a vast curved screen with a state-of-the art 4K laser projector and full 7.1 surround sound and three spectacular drop-down chandeliers which will be installed in time for Christmas. 

There is also a selection of stylishly-chic sofas for customers to enjoy located for premium seating.

Against all the odds and the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the independent cinema in Bury St Edmunds has kept calm and carried on and is even recruiting staff in this challenging climate.

The cinema forged ahead with its development plans in recent months to see the 180-seater premier screen ready to open to the general public.

The new box office was unveiled at the end of last year and the original restaurant and bar area have also undergone an impressive refurbishment. Final works planned by the end of the year will be to install the lift to the Premier Screen and complete the new toilets.

The cinema has been open daily with an expanding film slate to include new titles, old favourites and new Arts Screens and Event Cinema performances and will move to evening performances with the opening of the new Premier Screen.

The cinema’s Project Manager, Chris Peters says "With this state-of-the-art additional screen, we can really develop our programme and event offer, and show films we otherwise would have missed.  Cinema's worldwide have suffered a huge hit recently, but here at the Abbeygate, we still believe the importance of an independent, locally-run cinema serving its community, and believe that our community will support us in return.  We hope everyone likes the new addition!"

Andrea Holmes, Marketing Manager, commented “This is such an exciting time for us as we get to see months of hard work come to fruition and our loyal customers can at last come and enjoy the new screen they have patiently been waiting for. Despite the challenges we face at this time, to open our new Premier Screen next week, makes us feel even prouder, because we've achieved something magnificent!“

The cinema has been overwhelmed by their customers’ ongoing support and the donations which have been made in recent months to the 2020 Building Blocks Campaign they launched at the beginning of last year to help with the costs involved with this ambitious expansion project.  

Anyone who donated £50 or more to the campaign will get to see their name etched onto a wooden block which will be displayed in the new part of the building.

Abbeygate Cinema is one of the oldest cinemas in Suffolk and the building itself boasts an interesting past. 

Historic records going back to 1879 show that the auctioneer, Henry Stanley, resided at No.5 Hatter Street until 1891. The house was later known as York House following a visit from the then Duke of York (later King George V) in 1893 and it’s the impressive pillared York House door that now provides the cinema entrance.

In the 1920s, the southern half of the house was demolished and replaced by The Central Cinema which opened in 1924 and, after many alterations and name changes, has evolved into a thriving cinema.

The northern half of the building, No. 4 Hatter Street, although derelict for a number of years has been converted into the cinema's popular restaurant and bar – aptly named No.4! (Photo above by Bury St Edmunds Past and Present Society).

In 1971, it was split into a two-screen cinema and bingo hall but it struggled to survive the 1970s and even faced the possibility of closure as Studios One and Two in 1975.

As Cannon Cinema in 1985, it came close to closure again and since its MGM era of the early 90s, the cinema has been an ABC, an Odeon, an independent ‘Hollywood’ cinema and more recently, the Abbeygate Picturehouse before coming to rest under independent ownership as Abbeygate Cinema. 

To see what's on at Abbeygate Cinema and book tickets for its new Premier Screen visit  https://www.abbeygatecinema.co.uk/

Why not book to eat at Abbeygate Cinema's No4 Restaurant & Bar? With its Georgian style décor and a warm welcome, it offers a tasteful and relaxing setting to enjoy a glass of wine before a film, coffee and chat or a delectable sit-down meal.Visit https://www.abbeygatecinema.co.uk/no4/

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