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Astor Picture House, a theatre community cinema, opens in Deal on May 20

By Sam Lennon

Deal has now taken a giant leap for filmgoers with a new community cinema.

The Astor Picture House shows its first film on Monday, May 20.

The project, at the town's Astor Community Theatre, is the biggest move forward in providing local cinema in the town for a decade.

The Astor: Its picture house begins on May 20
The Astor: Its picture house begins on May 20

Now movies will be shown at the Astor every single week instead of the once a month Last Picture Club series.

This facility will will have a new screen and new seating.

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 first showing will be of the historical romantic drama Tulip Fever.

It is about a painter in 17th century Amsterdam who falls in love with a married woman when he is hired to produce her portrait.

It is adapted from a the novel by Deborah Moggach who will be there for a post-screening question and answer session.

She will reveal the story behind the making of the 2017 film.

On Wednesday, May 29, the Astor will show Mary Poppins Returns, released last year and a sequel to the 1964 movie.

Here the enigmatic nanny meets her former charges, Michael and Jane, as adults.

This will be during the school half term holiday when Paddington 2, about the children's bear character, will also be shown, on Saturday, June 1.

Astor Theatre artistic director James Tillitt
Astor Theatre artistic director James Tillitt

The Picture House opens about three months early as at the start of the year artistic director James Tillitt predicted it could by up and running by late summer.

He now said: "The Astor team are thrilled that this long awaited cinema experience is finally about to launch.

"With a new cinema screen, wider, comfy seats, convenient parking and a wealth of nearby restuarants, the Astor Picture House is the place to share a film experience.

"We are very grateful to Dover District Council and our own Friends of the Astor for their generous support."

The project cost £9,000, DDC granted £7,000 and the Friends gave the rest..

Other attractions at the Stanhope Road theatre, such as live plays and music, will continue as normal.

Astor Picture House logo. Picture courtesy of the Astor Community Theatre (9605761)
Astor Picture House logo. Picture courtesy of the Astor Community Theatre (9605761)

This project still means Deal still has no fully dedicated cinema with the last one, Flicks in Queen Street, closing in 2007.

The owner of the Regent building last December submitted a planning application to re-use it as a cinema but district councillors have not yet made a decision.

It is not clear how long it would take to reopen if permission was given.

Sandwich already has a small cinema, The Empire .

Dover has the small Silver Screen and has had the six-screen Cineworld multiplex since March 2018.

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