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Curzon Community Cinema

Arts and culture – Case study (photo)

What challenge was the inspiration for your project?

A substantial part of the building that houses the cinema was used for storage, office space and various light workshop uses but yielded (next to) zero income for the charity. We needed to find an alternative use for this difficult space that would not only secure the long-term future of the Curzon, but would also help to enhance Clevedon’s rather depleted town centre by offering a greater community experience than the single screen cinema alone.

What was your innovation that addresses this problem?

The opportunity arose to introduce a substantial food and drink offer at the Curzon via a capital redevelopment, with a named high profile provider. This created a strategic opportunity to undertake joint marketing of the combined leisure/night out experience in an entirely new way, providing an evening out that offered the opportunity to mix great films and arts entertainment with superb food in a unique venue (‘Teatro Lounge’). The town is now able to boast a venue that not only offers its community a cinema and cafe, but communal spaces for all ages to meet, network, hold workshops, exhibitions, music events and talks.

What impact has Triodos Bank had on your business?

With the support of Triodos Bank we are now looking at a secure future. Since the opening of Teatro Lounge, we have a new found freedom to innovate and develop programme ideas and there is not constant pressure to increase ticket prices, which is much appreciated locally.

What impact has your business had on the sector you work in?

We are fortunate to be able to survive as a single-screen, independent cinema in these times. Many other old cinemas have been bought out by bigger companies and don’t have the freedom to programme films or community events as they would like. The Curzon remains as a rare example of the cinema still offering the primary leisure option for the people of the town, as it was in the 1920s.

What impact has your business had on the community?

The Curzon is well-loved and the people of Clevedon are proud of its unique heritage and they are delighted to see the business doing well now. As well as getting stopped in the street to be congratulated for the improvement to the cinema, we are getting terrific reviews.

In addition to our regular film programme, we offer outreach screenings in residential homes; we work with the local sixth form to run an annual film competition for under-18s in North Somerset; we offer guided tours of the cinema; we run special silent film events; the Christie Organ Experience; computer coding workshops; and also animation and craft workshops for children.

How does Triodos Bank share your vision?

We believe that Triodos Bank really does understand the value of culture to a community. Although this value seems intangible, it is demonstrated to us every time a customer thanks our staff and volunteers for a great night out.