Work began yesterday on the £1.3m redevelopment of a listed North East cinema.
An empty shop unit on the ground floor of the Tyneside Cinema in Newcastle, which was originally The Silk Shop and most recently Barclays Bank, will be transformed by North East construction company Northern Bear into a new bar café with an entrance on Pilgrim Street.
Newcastle City Council leader Nick Forbes was at the cinema yesterday to meet Northern Bear and see construction work begin.
Builders will be working on the ground floor throughout the summer and the Tyneside Cinema bar café will be open for business in early autumn.
Work will then start on transforming the Tyneside’s existing bar on the third floor into a fourth cinema screen, which will be a video art gallery by day and a 40-seat cinema screen by night.
Mark Dobson, chief executive for Tyneside Cinema, said: “We are thrilled to be working with Northern Bear on the redevelopment of the cinema, which is being made possible thanks to funding from the Arts Council, several trusts and foundations, and by the overwhelming generosity of our audiences who are continuing to donate to our appeal. We’re delighted that the council leader was here to see the start of work.
“Newcastle City Council is a longstanding supporter of Tyneside Cinema and we are grateful to the council for a loan of up to £700,000 which has been made available for this project.”
Coun Forbes said, “I’m a huge fan of the Tyneside Cinema, which is one of the greatest cultural assets in the city and is loved by generations of film fans. The Tyneside makes a huge contribution to the cultural and economic vitality of Newcastle.
“This work wouldn’t have happened without the vision and commitment of the board, management and staff and I’m delighted that the council is actively supporting the next phase of its development.”
Neil Jukes, director for Northern Bear said: “This project is key to the continued growth of Northern Bear in the North East. Our experienced refurbishment team are looking forward to turning the plans for the redevelopment of the Tyneside Cinema into reality on site, working closely with the full team to ensure the end product is in keeping with the high standards of finishes throughout the much-loved existing building which is an important part of Newcastle’s heritage and the city’s vibrant cultural landscape.”
To make a donation to the cinema appeal, visit www.tynesidecinema.co.uk/appeal