Kinema/Curzon: a short history

CAMPAIGNERS are gathering local support for their proposal to restore the first purpose-built cinema in St Leonards and create a community hub.

The St Leonards Film Society has teamed up with other local creatives to form the Community Arts Network.

Following the closure of Brookers builders’ merchants in Norman Road, the group hopes to purchase the building for the use of the community, when it comes onto the market.

Dawn Dublin, secretary of St Leonards Film Society, said: “We at St Leonards Film Society have always dreamed of being able to turn it back into a cinema.

“This is made more possible since the original Edwardian domed auditorium still exists at the rear of the shop in what was Brookers’ storage area.

“This section of the building alone is of historical importance since the Kinema was the first purpose-built cinema in St Leonards.”

Dawn added: “Despite the huge number of artistic people in the town there is no dedicated theatre space and no dedicated cinema space in St Leonards.”

The Community Arts Network’s plans are only at a very early stage; the building has not yet come onto the market, they have not yet made contact with the owner,or secured funding.

However the current focus is on making people in St Leonards aware of the campaign, and gathering support from members of the local community.

The Community Arts Network plans to work together as a co-operative to make the building a centre for the arts, totally accessible to everyone in our vibrant local community and offering top events and educational activities.

The group has begun to put the wheels in motion in terms of applying for funding for the purchase of the building, and also plans to start a crowdfunding campaign.

If the group were to be successful in purchasing the building, volunteers a-plenty would be needed to get the project up and running.

Visit www.facebook.com/stleonardsfilmsociety.

See pages 48 and 49 for our Looking Back feature on the history of the building.