Reel-y good news as film screenings hit old town

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THE old town in Hemel Hempstead is to get its very own movie screenings.

A digital projector will be installed at the Old Town Hall early next year to show children’s films.

However, if the move proves popular movies for grown-ups could follow.

Sara Railson, arts and entertainment team leader at Dacorum Borough Council, said: “The Old Town Hall will be bringing back films in the new year.

“The films will be shown as part of the Kids Club, so the films will be children’s films.

“As yet the programme has not been set up but more information will be available in the new year.”

Film screenings were halted 15 years ago because of a lack of demand but a new push is on to promote the arts venue.

A survey of punters earlier this year revealed an overall satisfaction level of more than 93 per cent.

However, satisfaction with service at the bar was a mere 50 per cent.

The 120-seater venue is gaining in popularity, with attendance figures showing a steady increase.

In 2008/9 overall attendance was 57 per cent of capacity but this climbed to 72 per cent in 2010/11.

Spokesman Luisa Clarke said: “We are starting with children’s films and we’ll see how it goes. It they are fabulously popular we shall be looking at adults.”

The Old Town Hall’s arts programme is costing £428,200 this year to run, which equates to a subsidy of 41.5p per head of population in the borough.

The venue – built in 1852 and used for the arts since 1978 – is due to be upgraded under a revamp of the old town, which will be made one-way with more on-street parking to boost passing trade.

A gateway will be created at the junction with Queensway so the road can be closed off for more pedestrian events like the Victorian evening.