It was very exciting to hear today that work on the Curzon’s newly revealed, historic balcony has started! The Curzon is more than just a cinema – it is a central hub for the arts and entertainment in Clevedon and North Somerset and is one of the UK’s few traditional, independent cinemas showing mainstream and art house films. It is such a beautiful building with its neoclassical stonework and ornate tin panelling, as well as its historical archive and collection of cinema technology which has made such a valuable contribution to social and cinematic history, so you will understand why today’s news has everyone so excited.
Revamping this beautiful space that has been hidden from view since 1973 is of such significance and importance to the Clevedon community which is reflected in the very successful fundraising campaign which raised £85,000, £60,00 of which came from incredibly generous public donations.
Appointed to carry out the work are John West Contractors, who will start work later this month. Everyone is looking forward to the balcony opening in early Autumn.
The Curzon’s balcony was closed off in 1973, after a screening of ‘Cabaret’. Audiences had dwindled as television became more popular and the three-day week reduced people’s wages. At the time, the new false ceiling might have looked quite modern and maybe reduced heating bills. But as time went by, and people became more aware of the unique heritage and the rarity of the tin-panelled walls, the presence of the false ceiling became less appreciated.
In 2020, whilst Covid -19 had closed the cinema, contractors were working hard to finish the roof restoration and with a few days to spare, they were asked to help remove the false ceiling. The Curzon staff felt that a sense of space and airiness was vital for returning audiences, post-pandemic.
When the cinema re-opened, in October 2020, audiences were amazed to see the barrel-vaulted ceiling and the full proscenium arch revealed. Looking up, they could see the long-hidden balcony. At this point, the decision was made to re-open the balcony to the public.
The newly refurbished balcony will combine modern luxury and a large nod to the Curzon’s heritage with eclectic, upcycled styling. It will create a fabulous space from which cinema-goers can sit comfortably in beautiful surroundings, treating themselves to a unique evening or afternoon out.
Local artist Tim Stephens self-employed artist, illustrator and graphic designer created the artist’s impressions of how the balcony will look, with its colourful seating, exposed tin panelling, restored 1920s light fittings and fantastic view.
Tim was one of the many creatives involved in the Art on the Tiles auction in support of the roof restoration, another example of local, national and international support for this beloved cinema. You can check out his website here: https://timstephens.art
Curzon CEO Susannah Shaw:
“Re-opening the Balcony was an inspired suggestion from one of our Trustees. The Curzon has had fantastic support over the last few years from a handful of individuals who give their time to make vital decisions that keep our Cinema open. Not least among these has been Hilary Neal, who gave her time over 15 years as Chair of Trustees. With support like this, and from a team of dedicated volunteers and extremely hard-working staff, the Curzon is fortunate indeed. On top of that, the tremendous support and affection we receive from the public means this beautiful old Cinema can survive and indeed, begin to thrive again. As well as the public I would like to thank the National Lottery, Reaching Communities; the Medlock Charitable Trust; Junior Poon and other wonderful individuals who have made such generous donations. I absolutely can’t wait to get going and see our new balcony ready to open!’
If you would like to sign up to the Curzon’s weekly e-newsletter with details of upcoming films and events, plus all the latest news then here’s the link: https://www.curzon.org.uk