Ritz cinema opens its doors for art exhibition

An art exhibition is being held in order to raise money for the Ritz cinema project.

Organised by Lincoln voluntary organisation Off The Bench, the project’s aim is to revive the cinema on Lincoln High Street, which first opened in 1937, back to its former glory.


The art exhibition features artwork by local artists James Smart and Leo Cripps. Photo: David Wriglesworth

However, it suffered a major setback when asbestos was discovered in the building and the team are now hoping to raise £30,000 from crowd funding.

Off The Bench chief executive Pete Genders told The Linc: “The asbestos was an absolutely huge setback because it just wiped out our entire budget. We’ve been on the project a year. We wanted it to be finished by now and we got absolutely wiped back by the asbestos.”

Genders continued: “There’s about six of us working on it full time and then we’ve got contractors who come in and do bits and bobs. We’ll get there. It’s just we’re a fair few months off yet.”

Despite being in the early stages of refurbishment, there are already plans for when the cinema finally opens. Genders explained: “On Friday, Saturday and Sunday, we’re going to be showing the latest blockbusters.

“Throughout the week, we’re going to have a classic film night, so we’re putting on one of the classic films that used to be shown here or have been shown here in the past.”

He added: “We’re also having an art house film night, so more independent films and world cinema. We’re also showing local films, so one night a week we’re going to hand it straight over to students at the University of Lincoln where they can show their own films in a big screen setting.”

Genders also described some of the equipment that the cinema will contain: “We’re going to have two projectors: a digital and a 35mm. This means we can show classic films and get the kind of sound and the feel of that old cinema. The digital projector is for new films that only come out on digital.

“We’re also going to have standard seating at the front and premier seating at the back, so we’ll have comfy, leisurely seats. It’s a lot of work, a hell of a lot of work.”

The project heavily relies on volunteers and support from the public. Genders has been impressed with the backing from the people of Lincoln: “The support from the public has been absolutely tremendous. Everyone is really behind it. They really want to see the venue come back into use.

“They really want some more choice from the Odeon. They want an art house cinema which is what we’re going to be, so they’ve been really behind us.”

One way in which the project aims to raise money is through regular fundraising events. Genders explained: “We want to do one fundraising event a month for the next 12 months.

“This month is the exhibition and we have the ‘Standing on the Shoulders of Giants’ live music gig in April.” The line-up for the concert in April includes local acts: Elliott Morris, The Ruffs, Changing Horses and The Lounge Crusade.

The exhibition contains 50 original film posters and original film art designed by local artists James Smart and Leo Cripps. All the artwork is available to purchase as posters and as a postcard set. Cripps explained: “My posters are looking at little bits from a film and then visualising them so you recognise that.

“I choose the same type to the film title and then you’ve got some older ones which are just a lot more visual with big impact and colour.” The free exhibition runs until Friday, January 25th 2013.

In addition to the fundraising events, a campaign was set up on Indiegogo, a crowd funding website, in order to raise money. Those who contribute are able to receive perks, which include having their name on a brick, postcard packs, signed prints and sponsor a seats. Further information is available on the Ritz cinema website.

One Response to Ritz cinema opens its doors for art exhibition

  1. Oliver Wilkinson says:

    Is there anybody here that was a regular visitor to the Ritz before it closed as I am a journalism student at the University of Lincoln and am looking for someone to interview as part of my coursework.
    Any replies will be appreciated
    Thanks
    Oliver Wilkinson