Curtain could come down

THE curtain could be about to come down on Morpeth’s family-friendly community cinema.

Collingwood School and Media Arts College has been showing family films for two-and-a-half years through various partnership schemes.

However, the latest programme, supported by Lovelocal Cinema and Doorstep Films, will end with a showing of Pirates Of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides next week.

And organisers fear that if a new source of funding cannot be found, the popular project will have to close.

School Media Manager Nicky Wall said: “We kick-started the project with the support of Lovelocal Cinema and Doorstep Films who provided a technician and extra equipment, and helped us with licences, which is quite difficult to do under our own steam.

“It has made the whole administration process much easier and they also partially funded it for us so we have had half the cost, which is a big help.

“This is the last screening they are helping us with though so I’m not quite sure how we will go on with it after that, unless we get a big amount of people coming in to help pay for it.

“If we don’t get any funding this could be the last one we do. We will have to talk about it as a school, but it can’t cost the school money to do it, it has to be self-funding.”

The school will be writing to local businesses in the area to ask if they will consider sponsoring the initiative.

“We are sending information out to local businesses in the hope that they might come in and sponsor a film. We can do some advertising for them before the film and put their logo on all our fliers. We are hoping that somebody local might want to get involved,” said Mrs Wall.

And if funding is secured to continue the scheme, local community groups can also get involved.

Mrs Wall said: “We have been trying to get community groups involved with volunteering and the 4th Morpeth Guides came along last time. Any other groups who would like to get involved would be welcome.

“They can help us on the door, taking the money, and with sorting out seats. If they want to run their own stall to get funds for their work that is also fine by us. It could be a book stall, raffle or whatever they like.”

The Greater Morpeth Development Trust is currently running a community cinema at Morpeth Town Hall, with a different film shown each month. But while those events are geared towards adults, the Collingwood events are for families.

“The Town Hall is such a nice venue, but it is more suited to the adult market whereas we put on films for kids,” said Mrs Wall.

“We get a really nice mix of people coming along and what we aim to do is make it a very family-friendly environment.

“Families may worry about going to a cinema if their child might react badly to the film, but while we have seats laid out, if people want to get up and walk around we don’t worry about that. It is a very laid-back atmosphere to watch the film in.

“If people want to bring younger children to roam around while the older ones are watching the film that is fine.”

Films are usually shown at the Stobhill school on Saturday mornings, but the next event is slightly different as it will take place during the half-term holiday on Friday, October 28 at 1pm. It is also more for older children as the film carries a 12 certificate.

Tickets cost £2.50 in advance or £3 on the door. Children under three go free.

For more information, or to book tickets for next week’s film contact the school on 01670 516374.

• MORPETH Town Hall’s community cinema continues to thrive, with yet another sell-out showing.

There was a full house for last week’s screening of The Black Swan, following on from a sell-out in September for The King’s Speech when the scheme was launched by the Greater Morpeth Development Trust (GMDT) in partnership with Doorstep Pictures.

GMDT Arts and Cultural Interest Group Director Frank Rescigno said: “Before the first film was screened we said the most crucial element so far as the viability of running regular cinema screenings was concerned would be the response of local people in large enough numbers to support the project.

“Encouragingly, we have now had full houses for both of the first two films, which indicates there is a demand for cinema in Morpeth and for the very best and most popular movies to be shown.

“I would like to thank the people who turned out and also the volunteers who have come forward to help us run the events. Long may this continue.”

The next film to be shown at the Town Hall will be Mamma Mia on Friday, November 4, at 7pm.