Independent Cinema Returns to Lancaster as The Dukes Announce Reopening
Lancaster arts organisation and venue The Dukes have announced that they are ready to reopen their cinema to the public from Tuesday August 4, four and a half months after closing due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In a statement published online, The Dukes announced their new safety measures, film programme and building adjustments, revealing that their Round theatre space will operate as a second cinema screen alongside their main cinema auditorium, the Rake.
With socially distanced queuing and seating plans in place, including floor markers and reduced capacity screenings, both screens will feature three films a day from a programme of new releases, returning hits and a Star Wars classic.
Audience members are encouraged to book online from today or by phoning The Dukes Box Office on 01524 598 500 from July 30 onwards. Additionally, with the café-bar not yet fully reopen, ticket-buyers can also pre-order refreshments when making their booking.
The Dukes’ guidelines, which can be found in full at www.dukeslancaster.org, also detail the addition of sanitiser stations, Perspex screens and masks or visors for all staff and volunteers. Masks will also be compulsory for anyone entering the building.
As well as their online guidelines, The Dukes are opening their Box Office on July 30-31 so that people can enter the building and familiarise themselves with the adjustments.
Karen O’Neill, Director of The Dukes, said: “We are delighted to reopen The Dukes for our audiences across the Lancaster district. The last few months have presented significant challenges for The Dukes, but we are pleased to begin exploring the future with our communities and artists.
“We know there is a huge journey ahead for us all as we explore the impact of COVID-19 and we are committed to providing a safe and welcoming environment.
“We have missed being part of the cultural life of Lancaster and would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has and continues to support us. We hope that audiences will be excited at the opportunity to enjoy great cinema again and catch up with all the films they might have missed during lockdown.”
Whilst the venue has been closed, The Dukes have been working behind the scenes throughout lockdown to help keep the Lancaster district creative. This included the launch of online cultural space Digital Dukes, featuring creative
commissions and resources made by local artists, as well as partnering up with online film festivals and distribution companies for streaming opportunities.
Alan Hatton-Yeo, Chair of The Dukes board, said: “For nearly 50 years The Dukes has been at the heart of our community, celebrating the ways that the arts bring us together. Since the venue closed in March, our staff have worked hard to maintain a digital presence and plan to provide a phased re-opening and safe environment to welcome people back to.
“The support we have received from the community during this time has been wonderful, and I, on behalf of the board, would like to thank everyone for this.
“We are delighted to be able to start re-opening our building to Lancaster, beginning with the returning cinema programme, and collaborate with the community and its creatives as we all move forwards together. Our district has strong foundations in arts and culture, and we hope you’ll join us in the next stage of our journey to connect and create across Lancaster.”