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FEATURE: Bright future for The Light in Wisbech

The Light Cinema in the Wirral, Liverpool.

The Light Cinema in the Wirral, Liverpool.

The Light is still a little-known name in the world of multiscreen cinemas, with just one in the whole country.

With the second one being built here in Wisbech, Citizen reporter Emma McGuire headed to Liverpool to see what lies in store for the people of Fenland.

My first impression of The Light when I arrived in the Wirral was its size. It sits in a large complex that is reminiscent of the Wisbech coldstore, very clean and modern.

As soon as I walked into the cinema, I was impressed. From the small cafe area at the front to the original artwork on the walls, it has a sense of ‘wow’ about it.

The cinema has only been open for 18 months but it has already attracted a faithful following. You only have to look at its Facebook page to see the great reviews. When I asked people for their opinions on the cinema, I was overwhelmed with the response. The majority of comments were extremely positive, praising the range of shows on offer and the customer service.

Customer service is one of the things The Light prides itself on. Operations manager Jamie Atherton could not praise the staff enough and it is this customer service that has led The Light become the number one rated attraction in the Wirral on Tripadvisor.

Comfort has also been rated highly by people visiting the cinema. In each of the eight screens, which range in size from 74 to 251 seats, there are large comfortable chairs with plenty of leg room. Forget creaking flip-down seats and narrow sticky walkways.

I got the chance to see a film while I was there and the picture and sound quality were both spot on. The projectionists welcome feedback from people and adjust the sound levels dependent on the audience and film.

For example, they have started parent and tot sessions and autism-friendly screenings that have lower sound levels and brighter lights to make the cinema a less frightening experience.

But what impressed me most about The Light was not the plush seating or the freshly-made popcorn, but the sense of community and ownership from the small team that work in the cinema.

Jane Woodson is the Light Arts, Events and Education manager and has spearheaded a large proportion of the initiatives at The Light. She has worked closely with many community groups to see how they can benefit from the cinema, such as the local deaf society and LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) group.

The Light is part of National Theatre Live, screening live performances from theatres across the country to cinema audiences. It also shows music concerts and opera to cater for all tastes. Upcoming shows at The Light range from Othello to Robbie Williams.

It is hoped that the Wisbech cinema will also be able to offer these things and may even come up with some different ideas. Jamie said one of the benefits of working for a new company is the freedom to try new things.

And despite some angry calls from Fenland people defending The Luxe, Jamie added they are not trying to put the local cinema out of business and look forward to working together with the theatre in the future.

So with work progressing on the Cromwell Road site, I – along with many people – look forward to seeing what The Light can bring to Fenland.

 

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