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Brighton cinema to open new screens
6:20pm Friday 30th March 2012 in News
An iconic cinema is opening new screens in the heart of Brighton’s North Laine.
The Duke of York’s Picturehouse is taking over part of the Komedia arts venue in Gardner Street, Brighton.
Bosses say the three screens will make the city a centre for cinema in the region, while Komedia continues to provide cabaret, live music and its award-winning Krater Comedy Club.
A second, alternative set of the famous legs which extend from the top of the cinema building at Preston Circus will be added to the Komedia’s façade.
Jon Barrenechea, general manager at the Duke of York’s, said: “We’ve been looking for a chance to expand the cinema for years and, with Komedia, we think we have found the perfect home.”
The new screens will have 149, 110 and 32 seats each, compared with the Preston Circus site’s 283.
Mr Barrenechea said the cinema, part of the City Screen group of independent cinemas, showed 300 of the 500 films on release in Britain last year on its single screen.
He wants to be able to programme smaller films while giving popular movies more time.
The site, Duke’s At Komedia, will include a café and bar, and reclining seats.
Work is due to start in July, with a planned opening date of December 7.
There is existing planning permission for cinema screens to be installed.
The Komedia has recently finished repaying its creditors after striking a deal on its debts in 2009 which followed the loss of its Arts Council funding in 2007.
Mr Barrenechea described the deal for the Duke of York’s to move into the venue as a “partnership” rather than a merger. He said the two companies remained distinct.
Managing director, Colin Granger, said the plan “will constantly offer up new chances for artistic collaboration while enabling both Komedia and Picturehouse to retain their unique identities.”
The winter Cinecity film festival is expected to be among the events on which both venues collaborate.
Brighton-based artist Jamie McCartney is designing the second set of legs.
He provided an artist’s impression to The Argus but said designs have not been finalised, and he has not yet started work on the limbs.
He said: “I’m delighted to have been asked to produce a public art work in my home town, particular for a business so loved by Brightonians.”
New seating is being installed at the original Duke of York’s in August. Mr Barrenechea said the cinema would be closed for a few days and he hoped to put on outdoor screenings while the work is carried out.