Hailsham Pavilion Cinema – described as possibly one of the most elaborate small provincial cinemas ever built – has agreed a new 20-year lease with Wealden District Council.
“We are looking forward to providing the next 20 years of entertainment for local people,” said Paul Nunney, Hailsham Pavilion manager.
“Last year we were able to attract over 35,000 customers through our doors for the very first time and the business continues to grow.
“This would not be possible without our dedicated team of over 120 volunteer staff who serve in many different capacities from a board of directors through to event stewards and box office staff.
“We have truly become a local cultural hub, with the Pavilion offering, thanks to local people, the very best in entertainment.”
The original Hailsham Picture Palace closed in 1965. Since 1987 it had been unused, and gradually fell into a state of disrepair.
In order to save this historic building, it was purchased by Wealden District Council in 1992. This allowed for a major rescue campaign to be launched through the efforts of the then Hailsham Mayor June Bourne and HOPS – the Hailsham Old Pavilion Society – was born.
Through the fund raising work of its 800 members, HOPS raised £100,000. Together with contributions from Wealden and other local councils, organisations and the National Heritage Lottery Fund, a total of £500,000 was found to carry out the restoration.
The country cinema, whose first screening was Charlie Chaplin’s The Kid in 1921, reopened again in 2000.
Over the ensuing years the Pavilion has become a central element of community life in and around Hailsham.
It has been able to show all the latest blockbuster movies, classics from the past and the best in foreign language cinema in an ever-changing rolling monthly programme.
In recent years it has added live satellite event cinema screenings from The Royal Opera House, The National Theatre,The Royal Shakespeare Company & Glyndebourne.
It has also become renowned as an excellent live music venue and, working with SpyBoy Promotions, has been able to host the very best in world class folk, acoustic, roots and blues music.
It has become a wonderful home venue for local amateur dramatic and dance groups, with the annual pantomime by Hailsham Theatre and a Christmas Cabaret from The Dicker Players becoming popular fixtures in the town’s calendar of events.
It has even been the subject of feature films itself, with scenes from the 2015 movie, Mr Holmes, shot in the Pavilion.
“I am very pleased we have been able to renew the lease to the Hailsham Old Pavilion Society,” said Councillor Bob Standley, Wealden Cabinet member with responsibility for Asset Management.
“This Grade II listed building is a tremendous asset to the local community, providing block-buster movies and a wide range of entertainment including Movies Make Memories – Wealden’s special dementia-friendly film screenings.”
You can find out what’s going on at Hailsham Pavilion by visiting its website, http://www.hailshampavilion.co.uk/whatson.html