Building work continues apace on The Parade Cinema. The man behind the cinema project, Robert Hiscox, businessman, art collector, and philanthropist, is hopeful that the cinema will be in action by August 2021.
Speaking on the Ben Prater Show on BBC Radio Wiltshire and later on zoom to the Marlborough branch of U3A (University of the third age) today, November 26, Robert said, “It’s fantastically exciting. I hope the cinema will be a community asset. I want everyone in Marlborough to feel they can use it and enjoy it.”
Robert, who in 2013, rescued The Whitehorse Bookshop by buying it, told U3A members that Marlborough is a vibrant town with its shops, restaurants, art gallery and wonderful bookshop where you can go in and have an experience unlike online shopping.
“I love going to the cinema,” he added. So when the old non-conformist chapel in The Parade came up for sale he decided it would be the perfect venue.
“Marlborough has a long non-conformist history and that appeals to me. It’s a magnificent building and was built in 1817 by religious non-conformists from public subscriptions. We are mirroring history as locals are helping to fund the cinema.”
The actual cinema will be a pod inside the building with perfect sound and picture and 102 very comfortable seats with small tables for drinks and food. There will be no crumply plastic packets sold to make unwanted noise. The bar area will be to the left as you enter the building and will serve delicious food. The manse next door to the chapel will also be part of the complex.
Robert said, “Covid has made people aware that eating outside is healthy and pleasurable. The cinema has an enormous garden. It’s very quiet, away from the High Street and is a huge selling point. There is also plenty of indoor seating. I’m hoping that the pull for watching a film, and having a drink and a snack will be irresistible.”
It is planned to have three or four film shows per day catering for many different groups and interests, ranging from block busters, live theatre and opera streaming, children’s films, art films. Robert hopes to keep the ticket prices as reasonable as can be and the charity, Marlborough Arts Trust, will support the funding of disadvantaged and disabled groups so they can enjoy the cinema.
Meanwhile building and planning problems have been overcome and Robert is looking forward to a ‘soft opening’ in summer 2021 with ‘fantastic films’ on offer in the autumn.
To keep in touch with progress visit the www.theparadecinema.com website, or follow on Instagram: @theparadecinema , or Twitter: @paradecinema , or Facebook: theparadecinema.