Electric Palace cinema in Hastings Old Town saved from closure

An independent cinema in Hastings Old Town has been saved from permanent closure after residents came to its aid.

The Electric Palace closed its doors earlier this month after finding itself in a “disastrous situation” from Covid-related booking cancellations. It racked up huge losses in December as the Omicron wave took hold, and by January film bookings and venue hire were at an all-time low.

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The venue launched a community fund-raising appeal with a target of £15,000, and more than £17,000 has now been raised.

Supporters of The Electric Palace cinema in Hastings celebrate their fund-raising success.

“Thank you so much for your generous donations,” wrote Rebecca Marshall, the cinema’s co-founder and director, on their GoFundMe page. “It is amazing that we have hit our target as it saves us from permanent closure. We’ll share news on our reopening plans over the coming weeks, and responses to your ideas of improved screenings and screening times that better suit you. Thank you also for hiring the venue for your parties while we are closed, these are brilliant for keeping the venue going. We so look forward to sharing some celebrations of our twentieth anniversary over the coming months.”

Debra Cox, who works at The Crown pub on All Saints’ Street, and is a long-time resident of Hastings Old Town, said she was delighted to hear the cinema had been saved. “I go there and I really didn’t want to lose it. I think it’s an asset to the Old Town. I was horrified to think that we might lose it.”

Ruth Kosmin, who donated £100 to the appeal, said: “The Electric Palace has been a beacon of light over the years and has brought so much joy to Hastings.” Ian Stringer, who gave £123, wrote: “Congrats at reaching your target, it shows how important you are to the town.”

The cinema, a not-for-profit community interest company, is run by a small team of part-time staff and 30 volunteers. Its running costs rely on ticket sales and bar profits.