Ripon’s new cinema is on course to open in autumn this year, and managers are appealing for help and ideas from city residents.
North Square Cinebar is under construction in the former Abbott’s building on North Street, and will bring the city two screen cinema, a studio space, cellar bar and restaurant.
The development will also house nine apartments, including two serviced apartments offering high-quality holiday lets.
A charity is being set up to run the cinema and studio space – which were named by students at Ripon Grammar School – and Ripon woman Penny Hartley, has taken on the job of manager for venue.
As a resident of the city for the past nine years, and former Museums Manager at Ripon Museums Trust, Penny is over the moon to be involved in a project that will bring a community run cinema to Ripon.
She said: “I am so excited. I’ve lived in Ripon for nine years, and I love cinema, so this is a dream come true.”
Penny will be in charge of the two cinema screens, each seating up 60 people. One will be a “d-cinema” screen, meaning it will be high enough quality to show new release films, while the other will show films on DVD and Blu-ray.
Penny will also be responsible for the studio space – available for dance classes, theatre performances and other groups to use, and she keen to hear from anyone who is interested in using the space, or has ideas for the studio or the cinema.
“I want the cinema to have something for everyone, not just arthouse films, so I want to hear from people about what they want to see at the cinema, and how they want to use the studio,” she added.
Developers Sterne Properties are already in talks with some possible operators for the restaurant and bars, but are keen to hear from anyone else who is interested in taking on the businesses, Penny added.
And as the cinema and studio space are to be run as a charity, Penny needs to find willing volunteers to be help with the day-to-day running of the venue.
“I think we will need around 60 volunteers each working the equivalent of one halfday a month.
“It’s anything from learning to do the film projection to working in the box office or as an usher,” she said.
For more information or if you want to get involved, email firstname.lastname@example.org.