Saturday, April 26, 2014
The seats are in, the speakers are wired up, and the stairs are illuminated ready for show time at the new cinema in St Neots.
Cineworld gave The Hunts Post a tour of its six-screen cinema on Huntingdon Street – part of the Rowley Arts Centre development – ahead of the opening day on May 16.
The screenings are expected to kick off with the upcoming remake of monster classic Godzilla. School pupils from Longsands and Ernulf Academy will also be invited to watch a showing of the National Theatre’s production of King Lear on opening day.
General manager Nick Bashford explained that despite concern about the cinema applying for a licence to serve alcohol until 3am, they would only be serving higher-end drinks such as gin and tonic until the final showing each evening.
He said: “We wouldn’t be serving alcohol until 3am. We will stop serving as soon as the last film goes in. It will generally be 9.30pm apart from on the odd occasion eight times a year for big films like Captain America which may start at 11pm.”
The cinema will also be using allocated seating, guaranteeing that customers can secure a seat without arriving early for their film.
When complete, the foyer will feature a Baskin Robbins ice cream counter and cinemagoers will be able to buy a range of treats including fresh popcorn and hot drinks.
Mr Bashford, who was previously deputy manager at Huntingdon, said: “This is my first general manager position, opening a new site is a challenge but it is exciting to be part of the Cineworld internal progression scheme.”
His team will include three operations managers, three supervisors and between 20 and 30 team members. For just the team member roles, he received 500 job applications.
While the screens are yet to be installed, seating for up to 900 people is in place. The biggest screen will hold 251 people and the smallest just 55. The small screen will be available for hire for groups such as school pupils and parties.
Matthew Eyre, vice president of operations at Cineworld, said: “This is one of several sites that we have in smaller towns that have gone down extremely well – people have been talking about this for ages.”
Mr Bashford added: “It sold itself to me on the basis that it is aiming to be part of the community. It’s coming along and I’m getting excited now with four weeks to go.”
Cineworld is due to open to the paying public on Friday, May 16. Further details about the launch event will be available soon.