Hopes high that Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard cinema can be reopened

REVIVAL PLANS The No 6 Cinema at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard
REVIVAL PLANS The No 6 Cinema at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard

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TWO bids are being put together to help transform the fortunes of Portsmouth’s only independent cinema.

The No. 6 Cinema at Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard has been shut since March 10 after failing to break even due to poor audience figures.

Now two proposals are being put forward in the hope of reviving the ailing business – and it is hoped more will follow.

Peter Goodship, chief executive of the Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust which owns the cinema said: ‘We need an average audience of 45 or so per film to make it viable.

‘At certain times of the year we get up to 70 or 80. I have been at a show when the whole auditorium – 275 seats – is full, but the average falls a great deal short. I guess that’s partly due to the time of year, partly due to the choice of film or availability of film.

‘We would dearly love this arts cinema to continue. We think it’s great that it’s here and we would love it to continue. The big challenge is how can we achieve that?

‘There are three options – one, it closes and two, we find a third party to operate it and make it a successful operation. The third option is for us to try and find a better business model which would enable us to ensure that we at least break even, which is the aim of the game.’

Film-lover Graham Bremer, chairman of Independent Cinema in Portsmouth, is working on a plan to take over the venue.

Mr Bremer, who is also associate head of the University of Portsmouth’s School of Biological Sciences, said: ‘We intend to operate the cinema on a non-profit basis.

‘The backbone of the programme will be films not on widespread general release but films which have either received critical acclaim as independent films or films which have won awards like the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival, Palme D’or [at the Cannes Film Festival] or the Sundance Film Festival.’

James Donougher, events co-ordinator at Action Stations at Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard, is also putting together a bid to run the cinema in-house.

He is considering expanding entertainment on offer to include ghost walks, paranormal investigations and even Laser Quest.

Mr Donougher said: ‘What I have noticed is attendance figures have been lacking and also promotion within Portsmouth is near enough non-existent really. We really do need to promote the cinema.’

A decision on the future of No. 6 is set to be made in May. It is hoped the venue will reopen in September.

E-mail info@no6cinema.co.uk to get involved.