Struggling community cinema to make a comeback in 2016 after successful recruitment drive

David Kitchener, Andy Melville and  Lanie Bryer.
David Kitchener, Andy Melville and Lanie Bryer.

A community cinema that reached crisis point earlier in the year due to a lack of volunteers is making a comeback in 2016.

The Zonita - Ampthill Community Cinema - found itself in trouble in September when it was realised that there were just not enough helpers to put on another show.

It came following a successful sing-a-long Mamma Mia event.

But following a successful recruitment drive, the group is back under new leadership, with new ideas and a new team of volunteers, for a short season from January to May 2016.

Chris Hayes, who is stepping down from leading the Zonita team, said: ”When people come along for the first time I think they expect to find a projector with a pop up screen but they are amazed that we transform Parkside Hall into a full blown cinema with £20,000 worth of sound and projection equipment including a bespoke seven metre wide screen and full surround sound. But this takes a lot of time to set up and run, which is why we need our team of volunteers to help out.

“In between shows there is also a lot of planning, booking the films, marketing, getting stock for the bar and snack bar etc. I’m just really pleased that Andy Melville, the new Zonita team leader, has stepped up to the mark to keep it going.”

The cinema returns on Saturday, January 2 with a matinee show of the Jungle Book from 2pm and an evening showing of The Imitation Game. Full details of shows can be found at and also via Facebook and Twitter.

New leader Any said: “I’m really looking forward to the start of the season with our new team of enthusiastic volunteers and to welcome back our dedicated regulars who have supported us over the last five years and of course we would love to see some new faces who have not yet experienced a night at the movies in Ampthill.

“We have lots of new ideas and we are planning to do more event movies and introduce pizza and movie parties at the matinee.”

Doors open at 1.15pm for the Jungle Book and 6.15pm for The Imitation Game.

Tickets cost £5 for adults and £3 for children and are available in advance from the customer service desk in Waitrose, Ampthill.