A CINEMA in Kidderminster which was saved from permanent closure is undergoing a major refurbishment to get it ready to reopen when coronavirus restrictions are lifted.

Following Reel’s shock announcement in March that they were closing the Green Street site, film fan James Anderson Brown, founder of The Mockingbird Cinema in Birmingham, and Anthony Hughes and Eddy Morton, founders of Stourbridge Community Development Trust, stepped in to prevent the cinema from being lost for good.

Kidderminster Shuttle: James Anderson Brown, Anthony Hughes and Eddy Morton - directors of Lume Cinema outside the former Reel CinemaJames Anderson Brown, Anthony Hughes and Eddy Morton - directors of Lume Cinema outside the former Reel Cinema

Four months on, a Crowdfunder page has been set up to help make ambitious plans for the new 'Lume' cinema a reality, which gives supporters a reward such as tickets, wine and snacks, or a private screening with champagne in exchange for their donation.

Co-director Anthony told The Shuttle: "We've now secured the site and signed the contracts and have started clearing the site ready for the refurbishment, which will be quite a big job.

"There's a lot that needs doing to make the new cinema something really special. We don't want people to come back and just see the same cinema as it was.

"We've got ambitious plans for an art deco theme with a twist so that the interior reflects the rich history of the building.

"We want to go back to the days of a picture palace and make it a really special night out.

"We're working with the architects and, because it's a grade II listed building, we're also working with the council's heritage department to finalise all of our plans.

"Because the cinema was about to close, everything was put together very quickly to save it. We've got a financial package to do the refit, which covers the bare minimum that needs doing, but what we want to do through this Crowdfunder is to put all the bells and whistles on top and create a really special experience.

"We can do it cheaply or really nicely, it just comes down to how much is in the budget."

In exchange for a £20 pledge to the Crowdfunder page, supporters can get two cinema tickets for any future screening, valid for 12 months. A £35 donation gets you a family ticket, while donors who give £350 get a private screening of their favourite film for up to 20 adults with four bottles of champagne.

The project to get the new cinema up-and-running has been hit by several setbacks, mainly due to the nationwide lockdown, but the new owners are confident the venue will be ready to reopen this summer - if coronavirus restrictions allow.

Kidderminster Shuttle: The old Reel Cinema in Kidderminster as it was when the new owners took overThe old Reel Cinema in Kidderminster as it was when the new owners took over

"It's not been easy with the lockdown to get contractors in," said Anthony. "We've had a plan in place then had to go to plan B, then C - I think we're on about plan X at the moment!

"We had originally hoped to open with the new James Bond film in November but that got put back, then put back again.

"It's difficult to know at the moment where cinema is going, but once lockdown is out of the way, we're confident people will want to go out to their local cinema again. And it's not just people in Kidderminster, we've seen places like the Artrix close down in Bromsgrove, so we've got people in a 15-mile radius with no access to film that we're hoping will come to us.

"Because we're going to be trading as a social enterprise, it means we're coming at this from a different angle.

"The cinema is going to be multi-purpose - the downstairs will have a cafe, so people can come in and just have a coffee or go to chess club, which is very on trend at the moment.

"People can come and meet even if they're not watching a film. We're looking at doing small local music nights too. That helps ultimately to generate different revenue streams.

"We're working our way through, against the current situation, and we're trying to be proactive. Even if we end up going with plan Z, it's still going to be a great cinema."

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The Green Street cinema originally opened in 2006 as the Warehouse Cinema before becoming a Reel venue, converted from a former derelict carpet warehouse.

As well as big releases, the four-screen Lume cinema will be bringing alternative film content to the area and supporting local filmmakers, and will also be used as a community space to hold events.

To support the Crowdfunder, visit crowdfunder.co.uk/support-the-lume-cinema.