Stage is set for theatre complex

PLANS for a new cinema and theatre complex in Rye are taking shape.

The Fletcher in Rye group presented their plans for the Cinema Arts and Education Centre in Lion Street site to Rye Town Council on Monday.

On show was an impressive three dimensional architect’s model showing how the centre will look.

Money has already been raised to buy the freehold and the project could be complete by 2013.

Creative Director Hugh Kermode explained that through a combination of renovation and new building they will create a commercially successful arts and entertainment venue – The Fletcher Centre, named after the playwright John Fletcher – a close collaborator with Shakespeare - who was born next door but one.

“The main auditorium will be a modern digital venue with a fixed screen, fantastic sound and 126 luxurious seats – this will be used as a cinema but can also host live performances.

“The Art Room will be refurbished and will be a flexible venue with up to 45 seats and will be available for music, talks and private hire. The old library building will contain the front-of-house facilities.

“By creating the new building we can generate revenue that will allow us to renovate The Library and The Art Room – and preserve these buildings which, after all, were originally given to the people of Rye many years ago.

“We’re not creating an art house cinema or a heritage venue - there will be four screenings a day, with a flexible programme showing first-run films, as well as re-runs and festivals.

“As soon as the purchase goes through – and the money has already been raised to buy the freehold – planning permission will be sought and the serious business of finding the finance for the building work will begin. By July 2013, the people of Rye could once again have a cinema to go to.”

Councillors at the meeting expressed support and enthusiasm for the project.

The model of The Fletcher Centre by Rye Architects Jonathan Dunn Architects was on display will soon be taken to meetings of parish councils in the surrounding villages.

For more information contact