The Curzon is calling on the public to support it to get to its 100th birthday before it says its last goodbye to the town.
The independent cinema in Langney Road announced last week it is being ‘killed’ by the new Cineworld in The Beacon and will likely have to close next year.
Roy Galloway has owned the cinema since 1987. Reflecting on the Curzon’s fate he said, “It’s a great shame. It sounds as if the writing’s on the wall but not for a few months. People still come here and enjoy the films. We plod on.
“We are carrying on though. Our prices are very competitive. We are still hoping we can reach 100 years and have a special celebration, but it becomes more difficult each month.
“Eastbourne is losing all its old buildings. It’s getting quite dreadful how many places have closed. We are going to keep on keeping on.”
When asked his thoughts about making the cinema into more of an arthouse project, Mr Galloway said he always wanted to put on films to entertain, not just as an ‘intellectual exercise’.
Steve Milsom, who works at The Curzon, said, “It takes people back to their childhood. It’s where some people had their first kiss. One couple in their 80s met here and they are still coming.”
House manager Salam Niwa said, “One regular heard the news and she started crying and said, ‘My childhood was here’. It’s really sad.
“We try to make it better all the time. We try very hard, we have tried everything. It’s expensive keeping this place going. It’s an old building, it needs a lot of upkeep.”
This comes after the new eight-screen Cineworld opened in the second floor of the shopping centre expansion on July 12 this year.
The Curzon is the town’s oldest cinema and will be 100 in December 2020.
‘Heartbreak’ over cinema announcement
Messages of support have flooded in for The Curzon after it was announced the cinema will close.
Hundreds of readers took to the Herald Facebook page to share their feelings and memories of the place, which has been around since 1920.
Among those reacting to the news, Abi Mills said, “This is heart breaking.” And Mary Hall wrote, “I love this place as do my grandchildren. We love that it’s old and homely and its popcorn is the best.
“We will be going ‘til the end. The staff are so friendly and always make the kids feel special. Such a shame.”
And Richard Scullion said, “I guess the best way to save it is to use it! Fuller screenings might persuade the operators to change their minds over the next six months or so.”