Cinema ‘savvy’ plea

THE Worthing Dome and Regeneration Trust just doesn’t seem to get it...

I agree wholeheartedly with the points raised in Mr Neil Hopkins’ letter (Dome’s domesday? November 3). It seems most odd that the Dome’s centenary has not been made more of on the various online booking venues (and where are the Dome’s screening times displayed in the Herald?). Why has there been no banner or sign displayed prominently outside the cinema declaring the Dome’s 100th birthday?

Where is the excitement or community inclusion in the celebrations of Worthing’s most prominent landmark? Champagne gala... for whom? Leaving the festivities until December seems a distinct waste of an entire year. Was there any public notification of the several events mentioned in last week’s article (Dome’s Anniversary WILL be celebrated, Nov 10) prior to Mr Hopkins’ and my letter’s to the Herald? David Sawer’s concerns over the trust’s financial state are also worrying. In the light of the figures he quoted it seems even more unfortunate the trust has not taken adequate advantage of the marketing opportunity presented by what (at least some of us feel) is a very important year in Worthing’s history.

Marketing opportunity aside, the window to use 2011 as a year to place The Worthing Dome firmly in the centre of the community is rapidly closing and a champagne gala really does not cut it.

Compare and contrast the efforts of the trust and those of the folks behind The On-Location festival. I challenge finding any local cinema buff who was not aware of the screenings of Dawn of the Dead, Casablanca, etc.). Their enthusiasm and community savvy is what the Dome sorely requires.

Could the Herald please raise again with the trust members why as their own charter and Charity Commission guidelines state, their membership has not been refreshed every three years?

Serious discussion and public transparency is what is required. Not “champagne” jollies by the seaside. A public meeting should be arranged by the trust to discuss the long-term future of the Dome, the trust and its strategy to survive the Teville Gate development.

I personally want the trust’s thinking in declining the bid by Cityscreen, in 2008, to take over cinema operations upon the Dome’s reopening explained. With the hugely popular Brighton icon The Duke of York’s and many other successful historic cinemas on their books it is hard to imagine why Cityscreen’s bid was turned down.

It is a shame 2011 has not seen the Dome celebrated as the grand old icon she is and her cultural potential realised. Instead, it feels like just another “Heritage Listed” building awaiting a “changed purpose” classification that happens to sit on what is undoubtedly one of the most to-die-for slices of seaside real estate Worthing has to offer.

James Pearson

Portland Road