Published: 08:00, 27 May 2019
| Updated: 18:20, 27 May 2019
An author, whose book Tulip Fever was turned into a film, was guest of honour when a theatre launched its new cinema screenings.
Deborah Moggach was the guest of honour at the launch night of the Astor Theatre's cinema.
The Deal author's book Tulip Fever inspired the film of the same name which was shown to invited guests to mark the occasion.
It follows a drive to make the theatre ready for an increase in film nights in the absence of a dedicated cinema in the town.
And the success of the opening heralds optimism from the theatre's boss.
The Astor's creative director James Tillitt said he was: "Thrilled to bits. It was a fantastic evening - packed out.
Deborah Moggach gave a very interesting and informative questions and answers session after.
"Everyone was very complimentary about the screen, particularly the new, more comfortable and wider seats."
The increase in cinema showings is thanks to £7,000 Dover District Council (DDC)funding and £2,000 from the Friends scheme.
Guests from DDC were there including Keith Morris and Trevor Bartlett who were both instrumental in getting the cash so the cinema could start its screenings earlier than the planned July start.
That cash paid for a new cinema screen, wider, comfy seats.
Former mayor Nick Tomaszewski attended and praised DDC, Mr Tillitt and theatre staff for their perseverance.
A varied selection of films are planned to add to theatre's already thriving events programme.
They will be screened weekly instead of the monthly Last Picture Show events.
There will be Blockbuster Mondays, old classics, family and children's holiday screenings, a Deal Film Club, world cinema, matinées and mother and baby screenings.
The Dover District Council owned Astor was renovated and relaunched in 2010 by Deal Arts Management, ran by James Tillitt.
The group took the delapidated shell over it over when it fell into disrepair under previous ownership.
Since its relaunch, an explosion of big name acts have performed, local stage groups have trodden the boards, there are arts, wellbeing, writing and musical workshops and lessons, apprenticeship programmes and a theatre cafe serves a lunch menu daily and pre-theatre meals.
Deal has been without a cinema since Flics in Queen Street closed in the late 2000s and the Astor's venue fills that gap. Meanwhile the owners of the Regent have submitted plans to DDC's planning department to turn the seafront building into a cinema.
Looking for a school holiday screening? Try Mary Poppins Returns which is shown this Wednesday at 11am.
Released last year and a sequel to the 1964 movie, the enigmatic nanny meets her former charges, Michael and Jane, as adults.
Paddington 2, about the children's bear character, will also be shown at 2pm, on Saturday, June 1.