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Curtain goes up on Curzon Knutsford
IT was a wrap for Curzon Knutsford as the town’s dignitaries and community leaders gathered for an exclusive first screening at the newly- unveiled cinema.
The great and the good of Knutsford, including town mayor Vivien Davies and Cheshire East mayor George Walton, enjoyed the Frank Langella film Robot and Frank last Wednesday.
It was the first chance for people to see the cinema’s new look, which took its inspiration from the building’s original Art Deco style, and is the first Curzon outside the London area.
Among the special guests was Marjorie Ashworth. Marjorie’s father Clifford Ogle built the cinema which opened in 1935.
It was originally named the Marcliff which was a combination of the father and daughter’s first names.
The cinema’s name may have changed, but the family’s legacy remains as Knutsford’s Marcliff Grove is also named after them.
“We used to come and stand on the top of the cinema to watch May Day,” said Marjorie, who lived in Moss Lane for 14 years.
“It was brilliant. It’s fantastic that the cinema is still here today. I think Curzon has done a good job.”
About £170,000 has been spent on the transformation, which has been led by ABDA Creative Design, who designed the National Football Museum at Manchester.
Rob Kenny, the Curzon’s director of cinema development, said: “It stems from the original Art Deco features that were in the cinema already. That was the starting point.
“We gave them a free rein, but they consulted us throughout the process. This is the end result, and we’re quite happy with it.”
As reported in the Guardian, the cinema was originally under threat unless Cheshire East Council could find a new partner to run it.
Rob added: “I don’t see it as us coming to the rescue of the cinemas as it’s also a great opportunity for us.
“If we were looking around the country for a new location, Knutsford would be near the top of the list. It’s an ideal demographic – it’s the right size. I think this cinema will go from strength to strength.
“We definitely want to add a couple of extra screens and look at the seating area outside the front.
“We want to licence that and add tables and chairs to make a nice environment to drink and eat.”
On the night, Clr Walton said: “It gives me great pleasure to be here tonight not just to celebrate the launch of this new period in the life of the building but also see the tremendous changes since Curzon took over the management of the building only a short time before Christmas.
“The former civic hall upgraded by Macclesfield Borough Council in 1990 has been a feature of Knutsford cultural life since the 1930s.
“While the fortunes of the cinema industry have ebbed and flowed throughout its life I am proud that the building has remained open for business, giving generations of Knutsford people the chance to enjoy the excitement of film.”