Hastings Electric Palace - campaign to save cinema from closure

An independent cinema in Hastings faces permanent closure unless it can raise enough money to stay open.

The Electric Palace cinema in the Old Town said has taken the difficult decision to close its doors this month.

The venue has now launched a community fundraising appeal and is asking for people’s help to enable it to reopen later this year.

More than £9,000 has been raised so far.

Staff pictured outside the Electric Palace in Hastings Old Town. SUS-201013-103824001

Rebecca E Marshall, the cinema’s co-founder and director, said: “It is with huge sadness that we must close our doors for January.

“At the start of the pandemic we were carried through by funding from the BFI Cultural Support Fund, but it did not cater for such a terrible December in which we made huge losses due to all the Covid-related booking cancellations.

“Now we are left in a disastrous situation. Due to the understandable concerns that affect us all regarding the ongoing Omicron variant, January film bookings and venue hire were at an all-time low.

“It has not proved financially viable for us to open our doors for film screenings. Even standing closed has substantial outgoings, and we are under threat of permanent closure.

“To screen a film incurs licence fees and staffing costs that only generate further loss if badly attended.

“We are a not-for-profit community interest company with a small team of part-time staff and 30 dedicated and brilliantly passionate volunteers. Our running costs rely on ticket sales and bar profits.

“Without your support we will not be able to reopen the cinema for 2022, its 20th anniversary.”

The cinema team hopes the fundraising campaign and its applications for the BFI’s Emergency Resource Support fund and other grants will allow it to resume normal screenings later this year.

People can support the cinema by visiting the Gofundme page at www.gofundme.com/f/save-the-electric-palace-cinema-hastings, hire the cinema for their own event, as it will be open for private bookings during January and February.

With no public screenings during this time there are additional evening slots available (Thursday to Sunday) throughout the closure. Visit www.electricpalacecinema.com/hire.

People can also join the Friends of the Electric Palace scheme and encourage others to do the same. Visit www.electricpalacecinema.com/support-the-cinema.

Rebecca added: “The Electric Palace is a very special place with a rich and colourful history, and it has brought so many people together.

“If you feel able to donate to us during this time, we would be hugely grateful. Now is your chance to play a part in saving your well-loved cinema. We need your help to keep this wonderful cinema alive.”