Independent cinema ‘back from the dead’ in Portsmouth

David Calder as Julius Caesar in the play of the same name at The Bridge Theatre. Picture by Manuel Harlan

Beware the Ides of March, but enjoy this screening

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PORTSMOUTH’S only independent cinema is set to reopen 13 months after it shut its doors.

No.6 Cinema, which is based in the £12m Action Stations building at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, closed in March last year as it failed to balance the books.

But a team of committed film-lovers have relaunched the cinema with a new business plan that promises it will be ‘bigger and better than ever’.

No.6 reopens on Saturday April 28 with a 7pm screening of Golden Globe-nominated French drama The Kid with a Bike. The cinema’s bar will be open from 6pm.

Events manager Siri Finess, of Southsea, said: ‘We are over the moon to be back. It was so sad when we had to close last year and it’s been such a long process since then to get to this stage.’

The 275-seater auditorium was the only cinema in Portsmouth which showed arthouse and independent foreign cinema.

Despite a strong weekend following, it couldn’t afford a bigger variety of films to attract larger weeknight audiences to cover its operating costs. This led to site owners Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust closing No.6 down and calling for a new business plan.

Since then, Mrs Finess and seven other volunteers have worked tirelessly to establish a new non-for-profit company, Independent Cinema Portsmouth, which is in the process of becoming a charity. They have also brought in the respected film distributors Picturehouse who will set No.6’s programme and provide movies.

Mrs Finess said: ‘Picturehouse are very good. They run cinemas and programmes around the country and they have put together a very exciting programme for us. It’s very exciting and we are thrilled we’ve got the cinema back from the dead. It’s going to be bigger and better than ever.’

No.6 will be open three nights a week, including Saturday, and will show different films at each screening. Tickets cost between £5.50 and £7.50.

Mrs Finess said: ‘We are not looking to make a profit. The cinema only has to average 65 to 70 people each screening to break even. All we want to do is cover our costs. We know there is an enormous passion in Portsmouth for independent and arthouse cinema and that’s why it’s fantastic that we will have the cinema back.’

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