Earlier this week we heard the sad news that Newton Abbot’s Alexandra Cinema will temporarily close after the half-term holiday. Unsurprisingly, this is due to the continuing effect of coronavirus. According to the cinema’s website, it appears that the Alexandra’s final film of 2020 will be Hocus Pocus (Ortega, 1993) on Saturday 31 October.
The directors of Scott Cinemas posted an update to their Facebook Page on Tuesday night. In the update, they stated that they hope to “restart the business there next spring, once the tentpole releases start to roll and more people feel they can return.”
You can read the full update from Scot Cinemas in the post below.
D&CFilm’s first thoughts were obviously for the team at the Alexandra. It must be frustrating for them and Scott Cinemas to have put their efforts into making the cinema as COVID-safe as possible, only for it to close. However, for the employees, those frustrations are likely to give way to uncertainty. There’s no information in the post about their employee’s jobs, whether or not there will be any redundancies or if there’s a possibility that staff might be able to pick up shifts in other locations. That might not even be feasible.
The Alex won’t be the first cinema to close, but sadly, neither will it be the last. It’s disappointing that this government rejected calls for a furlough scheme dedicated to the sectors and industries that have and continue to be affected by COVID-19. That kind of support could have prevented closures like this from happening.
However, there are rumours that today the Chancellor might announce some kind of local furlough scheme for businesses affected by local lockdowns. However, that is unlikely to help the Alex, but it might help the wider industry.
The chancellor is due to announce details of a local furlough scheme this afternoon. Rumoured to be set at 66% of wages for businesses forced to close due to local lockdown.— Martin Lewis (@MartinSLewis) October 9, 2020
No mention of the self employed yet, they need support too.
A Brief History of the Alexandra Cinema
The Alexandra Cinema is a Grade II Listed building. The building was originally built in 1871 and was converted into a theatre in 1900. However, it wasn’t until 1927 that the Alexandra became a full-time cinema with a balcony and the ability to seat up to 550 people. In 1995, the theatre was converted into a two-screen cinema.
Scott Cinemas appears optimistic about the potential to re-open the Alex in the Spring of 2021. However, given COVID-19’s continued affect on the industry and Teignbridge District Council’s plans for rejuvenating Newton Abbot’s town centre, one has to wonder whether the Alex will ever re-open. Its future, much like the industry itself, appears to be in a precarious position.
Support your Cinema
But what can you do to support your local cinema? Well, if you’re a passionate film fan and you have a cinema near you, then make sure that it receives your support- whether that’s by purchasing cinema tickets, buying a cinema snack bundle, a membership or even by making a donation.