Keswick’s Alhambra Cinema is racing against the clock to reopen in time for September 30.
No Time to Die, the latest instalment in the Bond franchise, is released on that date and staff are working hard behind the scenes at the cinema to make sure it is ready
Last year, when many cinemas were facing bankruptcy, the family owners of 108-year-old cinema decided to take a huge gamble and build a state-of-the-art second screen within their century-old picturehouse – one of the oldest continuously-operating cinemas in the UK.
The major building work has meant the cinema has had to remain closed during the busiest summer Keswick has ever seen.
“The stakes couldn’t be higher,” said Jon Moore, who is a co-owner of the business and is project managing the build.
“Bond is the biggest film release of the last two years and we know demand will be huge.
“We simply have to be open by then. Every firm working on the project is from the local area and is making a huge effort to get the job done in time for Bond.”
The opening of a second screen will be a poignant moment for Tom Rennie, 78, who started at the Alhambra 30 years ago, and is still involved, though he handed the reins to daughter Carol in 2018.
He said: “Back then we used huge reels of 35mm film. I installed the first digital equipment in 2012, and we are now putting in the very latest laser projection technology, while maintaining and enhancing the history and magic of this much loved venue.”
The old film reels are going to be back in view, if not in action, as they are being upcycled into a spectacular new lighting feature in the foyer, the owners said.