A rare film treat in Hailsham

The public attended the official opening in 1921
The public attended the official opening in 1921

FILM FANS will be treated to a rare treasure at Halisham Pavilion as the cinema marks its 90th anniversary with a screening of romantic drama, The Sheik (PG), originally released in 1921.

Hailsham Pavilion first opened its palatial doors to a sell-out crowd on November 28 of the same year.

Known as the ‘picture palace’, it oozed opulent style with its primrose paintwork and gold leaf walls.

The ornate cinema is almost a century old and to commemorate this remarkable feat, it will welcome guests once again to enjoy The Sheik, starring Rudolf Valentino and Agnes Ayres, at a discounted price of £2.50. The classic film will be shown at 7.45pm this Wednesday, November 30.

Paul Nunney, general manager at the pavilion, said: “Hailsham Pavilion has been through many changes over the years but has remained at the heart of the community.

“We are lucky to have the support of the town and the Hailsham Old Pavilion Society (HOPS) who are constantly fundraising for us and help support the day-to-day running of the pavilion.”

One of the many charms of the pavilion is that it is one of the few places to still use film reels rather than digital projections.

Chief projectionist John Manser has worked there for 11 years and he is in charge of maintaining the projector, producing the films and trailers along with managing his team of five.

Mr Nunney added: “John has incredible skill and a real passion for cinema, he is able to rescue damaged film and restore it. He is an example of one of the many talented people we rely on to maintain our high standards.”

The move to digital cinema is scheduled for early next year, which will introduce new technology to Mr Manser and his team which they are excited to embrace as they move towards the Pavilion’s century.

The grade two listed building was in a serious state of neglect in the early nineties, after parts of the ceiling began to collapse and it suffered from rain damage.

It had a new lease of life in 1993 thanks to a restoration project set up by the town council who donated £1400 towards its repair.

This enabled the Hailsham Pavilion to be restored to its former art–deco glory and has since served the community with a range of blockbuster hits and timeless classics such as African Queen and Jane Eyre.

To enjoy this unique viewing opportunity and for more information on all tickets and screening times, visit: www.pavilionhailsham.co.uk