‘Terrific’ response to cinema from film fans at North Hall

Peter Winney outside North Hall
Peter Winney outside North Hall

A new cinema system has been deemed a great success, with many potential uses for the community.

It is hoped that the new cinema style screen and Dalby surround sound system at Loxwood’s North Hall could help to educate local GCSE students as well as increasing the number of people using the refurbished village hall as a thriving social hub.

Peter Winney, chairman of the North Hall Management Trustees, said the new audio visual system installed in the summer and partly-sponsored by LPG specialists AvantiGas had been in constant use to accompany ballet and ballroom dancing, regular performing arts training sessions and even a PowerPoint presentation by the parish council to illustrate building development in the village.

The first scheduled monthly cinema night held on Friday, October 13, had featured Bridget Jones’s Baby, and had brought in an audience of around 50 film fans.

Peter said: “We’re still seeing our regular old friends who come to our jazz nights and to the quiz shows we do but we’re getting new people as well. I think they now appreciate that they’re not just walking in, sitting down and watching a film – it’s a social event. We open the bar at 7pm and they have a chance to buy a glass of wine and mingle before the film and during the interval… I’ve been working for years to try and bring in new people by putting on all sorts of things but I feel this film night has been a bit of a breakthrough. It’s really terrific. I’m absolutely thrilled with it.”

“Sophie Nataraj, an enthusiastic supporter of our local pre-school, suggested that as the students at our local secondary school – the Weald Community School and Sixth Form in Billingshurst – are studying Shakespeare this year for their English literature, we could do a screening of Macbeth for them. Clearly, it must be done in conjunction with the school. We would consult to find out whether they approve and have a preferred version. We should get quite a good response and for a free screening no licence is required.”

The Bridget Jones film turned out to be a money-spinner as well as a social success, even after the three-figure cost of the licence and a modest £5 admission charge: “We actually made an overall profit of £300, which is very nice for the hall funds, though we were doing it to start up another social event for the village, which it turned out to be.”

AvantiGas Brand and Marketing Executive Abi Martin said: “We are very happy to hear that the new audio/visual we helped to finance is serving the community so successfully. We serve lots of homes and businesses in the area and wherever we can we like to give something back to the communities which support us with their custom.”