Thriving Worthing Dome Cinema looks to expand
Worthing’s Dome Cinema is enjoying renewed confidence as it works towards opening a fourth screen within the next year.
Site manager Ross McLaughlin has been delighted by audiences since reopening.
“It has been really positive. The first weekend back we were busier than before the pandemic, and the first week back was our busiest week since before the pandemic by a considerable margin.
“We have been open every single day that we were able to open. I would say we have been open for about five months in all (since the pandemic first closed cinemas last March). And we understand why we had to close completely. It was a necessary evil. We just feel that we are lucky to have been able to reopen when there are some industries that still haven’t been able to come back.
“And the distributors are seeming a lot, lot more confident”, says Ross, eyeing up some significant big releases in the coming weeks.
“We have got a lot of people saying they are really pleased to be back with us watching new films. People are feeling safe and confident just being out again. We have got all the measures in place and we are following all the guidelines and in some cases we are going beyond the guidelines. We are erring on the side of caution to make everyone feels safe.
“There have been a number of times when people have been thinking this is the end of the cinema, but I think cinema has shown that it is incredibly resilient.
“People do love the experience of being able to go out and share a film in a communal environment.
“Cinema has survived television and it is survived video and DVDs and it has survived home streaming and it has also survived the pandemic now.
“It is showing that it is an affordable day out. And what I think we are seeing is the real resilience of the independent cinemas making a resurgence where people are getting something more than the plastic multiplex.
“The big chains have racked up debts by their aggressive over-expansion and the pandemic has really hurt them, but the independents are much more integral to their community and people are much more keen to support them.”
And for the Dome, the extra screen will be the next chapter.
“We’re deep in the planning stages at the moment, and we’re hoping to open our brand-new fourth screen in time for Easter 2022.
“We will also be giving our main toilet block a major overhaul and extension this year once the planning office give us the long-awaited go-ahead.
“We believe in the future of cinema and in safeguarding the future of this majestic building that we’re privileged to be custodians of.
“The toilets and new screen are the next step in our long-term vision of making The Dome the venue to visit on the south coast.”
The Dome previously opened a third screen for the first time in the building’s history in 2018, featuring armchair-style seating and double sofa seats.
In 2019, prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, The Dome enjoyed its best year to date, with a record-breaking year of ticket sales, aided by films such as Avengers: Endgame and The Lion King.
Managing director Paul Jervis stated “The Dome is not just a business but a passion.
“There are exciting times ahead with many new facilities being planned.
“All works will be carried out in a manner to reflect the beauty of the building.”
Details are being kept under wraps for the time being, but The Dome say they are hoping to have around 100 seats in the new auditorium.
Guests can book tickets for films at The Dome Cinema now through their website at www.domecinema.co.uk, with further dates added every Monday evening.