The Memo Arts Centre, Barry is installing new digital cinema facilities, which will enable them to live stream theatre productions and bring back blockbuster cinema releases to the area.
The Arts Centre received the good news that they had secured an Arts Council of Wales Capital Lottery grant of £191,730 in November 2014. The Vale of Glamorgan Council was able to provide the much needed partnership support of £47,000 from regeneration funding for Barry to secure the investment.
The Memo’s General Manager, Kate Long, welcomed the news, saying: “This is an exciting new venture for the Memo Arts Centre. The venue has played an important part in the life of the town for over eighty years. Many local people have fond memories of attending events and performing at the Memo and this cinema development will create another fantastic opportunity for this to continue. We can again provide blockbuster and live stream cinema in Barry for the local and wider community, and would like to take this opportunity to express our gratitude to our sponsors and individual supporters for helping us to do this.”
Work will see the installation of a new projection room housing a new digital cinema projection system, complete cinema surround sound, and a bespoke screen. There will also be changes to the seating arrangements, enabling improved access and creating capacity for up to 550 viewers at each screening.
The venue will show live-streamed productions in a theatre setting, showing blockbuster and independent films from September, as well as productions from the National Theatre and other such events as part of their new CINEMEMO satellite programme.
Tickets are already on sale for the showing of the National Theatre’s live production of Hamlet starring Benedict Cumberbatch, which will be broadcast on Thursday 15 October in 40 different countries as part of the National Theatre Live project.
Since January 2013, the Memo has been at the forefront of the campaign to bring cinema back to Barry. Working with the BFI, Film Hub Wales and Ffilm Cymru Wales, the new investment in the organisation plans to play a much bigger part in providing cinema, live streaming, film festivals, including continuing to work with the UK’s ‘INTO Film Festival’ again in November this year, running alongside creative workshop programmes that will engage the whole community.
Leader of the Vale of Glamorgan Council, Cllr Neil Moore, said: “I’m delighted that the Vale of Glamorgan Council has played a large part in bringing a cinema back to Barry. The regeneration of the facilities provides a springboard of opportunity that will raise the area’s profile and encourage visitors to this and other venues, with an aim to generate increased business opportunities for the creative industries, local businesses and the overall community.”