All Systems Go For Acton's New Cinema


Acton Arts Project gets green light and films could be screened in January


Acton Old Library

Acton's Cinema is becoming a reality and plans are for it to open initially as a 'pop-up' as soon as January.

The residents behind the successful Acton Arts campaign, which will see the old library being turned into two-screen cinema and cafe-bar, were delighted to announce at their November AGM, that they have now agreed terms with Ealing Council and intend to occupy the building from January 4th.

The popular project, which the team has been working on officially for the last two years (but planning behind the scenes for much longer), aims to save the classic Grade Two-listed Old Library building and help kick-start a regeneration of the High Street.

There had been other community bids for the historical site, but, in May 2018, Acton Arts Project (in its current form) was established to  keep the Old Library in community use, protect the building from residential development and open a cinema. The group has been meeting at least once each week ever since.

Chair of Acton Arts, Maire Lowe, said: '' Work will begin in January on a ‘meanwhile’ solution of a pop-up single-screen cinema with local traders running the cafe-bar. The venue will have socially-distanced seating and be COVID 19-compliant from the off.   

''Three major vaccines against the virus are now on the horizon and there’s a real prospect too of blockbuster film releases in the Spring. The way we live, work and enjoy ourselves may well have changed, but that helps the Acton cinema plan too. 

"Acton fits the profile of ‘the 15-minute city’, where a quarter-hour’s walk will be the best way to the enjoyment of cinema.  With the programming skills of Oliver Meek we plan to welcome as many of you as possible back into this lovely building. The cinema could be Acton’s shot in the arm, a step towards regeneration of the High Street and a celebration of where we live.''


The team want to thank everyone who has supported Acton Arts so far and say "we really could not have achieved this without the knowledge that we had a huge, wonderful community behind us."

Nearly £30,000 has been spent so far for surveyors, cinema designers, architects, acoustics experts and heritage advisors to come up with the plan, which also makes provision for a much-needed school on the upper floors for children with a diagnosis of autism.

Over £115,000 was initially raised from Spacehive in pledges from the Community.
The project team will soon be launching a second fundraising campaign to buy the necessary equipment to get the pop-up set up as soon as possible

As well as other screenings it's hoped the new Acton Cinema will be able provide a venue for the community to view winning short films from the inaugural Ealing Film Festival which has launched online this year.

 

Annemarie Flanagan

November 27th 2020