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Canterbury's new Curzon Cinema opens with The Curzon Canterbury Film Festival 2014

Cameras, lights, action.. Kent's newest cinema opens this weekend.

Curzon Cinemas will operate three screens in a section of the Westgate Hall it is renting from the trust which runs the former drill hall in St Peter’s Lane.

To mark its opening there will be a festival of 21 films over a week, including Powell and Pressburger’s wartime classic A Canterbury Tale.

Curzon’s Chris Boyd said: “The programme will be made up of seminal films and future classics, with tickets available on a strictly first-come, first-served basis.

“It is a mixture of brand new film releases, classic cinema and contemporary gems.”

The cinemas comprise 250 seats divided between the three screens.

Lord Mayor of Canterbury Ann Taylor will formally open the cinema on October 17 with the film festival lasting until October 23.

Curzon is renting the former administration area of Westgate Hall, which was built just over 100 years ago, from the Westgate Community Trust.

The trust was formed shortly after Canterbury City Council announced it wanted to demolish the building, which has been used for everything from quiz nights and fairs to general election counts.

The Westgate Community Trust is in the process of refurbishing the main hall, which will be available for hire. Work includes a new interior and new roof.

Imogen Morizet, one of the co-chairmen of the trust, is delighted that work on the building is nearing completion.

“It’s the culmination of five years of effort,” she said. “I’m very happy that Curzon has come in to be to our tenant and that they are ready to launch.

“It’s really going to be gorgeous inside and the work on the roof has been amazing.

“It will continue to be a community building so that anyone who wants to can come and hire it.”

Its grand reopening is scheduled for the weekend of Friday-Sunday, November 7-9. There will be a conference for Civic Voice, a campaign group dedicated to preserving and improving public places, which TV star Griff Rhys-Jones is due to attend.

Log on to www.westgatehall.org for more information about the hall.

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