Flatpack Festival
Film for all the senses

Electric Cinema feasibility study

Ian Francis
Wednesday 15th May, 2024 Posted by Ian Francis

The latest update regarding the Electric Cinema includes a confirmation of funding for an independent feasibility study. Read on for the official press release.

Flatpack announce Electric Cinema feasibility study
Century-old venue designated Asset of Community Value
Property developers hold first public consultation on 16 May

Flatpack Projects today confirmed funding for an independent feasibility study exploring the future of the Electric Cinema on Station Street. The city’s first full-time film venue when it opened in 1909, the Electric has been closed since February 2024 when an 88-year lease came to an end. Manchester-based property developer Glenbrook has since announced plans for redevelopment of the site between The Old Rep theatre and The Crown pub, including a new independent cinema to replace the existing one.

‘The public response since the cinema closed its doors has been staggering,’ said Flatpack Director Ian Francis. ‘People love the layers of history in this place, and it has given audiences something different in a city where the film offer is quite narrow considering the size and diversity of our population. This feasibility work is an opportunity to ensure that Station Street and the city get the best possible outcome – one which takes into account heritage value, cultural tourism and cinema provision as well as commercial viability.’

Support for the study has come from the British Film Institute, the UK’s national body for cinema, and from the John Feeney Charitable Trust. Lucy Reid, Feeney Trustee, commented: ‘Given the significant redevelopment plans for central Birmingham, there is a real danger that we lose more places which contribute to the unique character and cultural life of our city. We’ve made this grant because we want Birmingham’s heritage and culture to be recognised and celebrated, and to have a voice in the conversation around the Electric. The Feeney Trust will be launching a dedicated fund to support other interventions like this in the future.’

The news comes at a time when Birmingham City Council has confirmed the Electric Cinema’s designation as an Asset of Community Value, underlining the venue’s importance as a community space which fosters social wellbeing. This is echoed by research undertaken last year by the BFI and Creative PEC, which demonstrated that cultural film venues can generate at least £600,000 annually in social value in addition to an average £1.18m in market value. The study also showed that these cinemas play a vital part in pride of place for local residents.

Anyone wishing to learn more about the proposed plans for the Station Street site can attend an open session being held by Glenbrook at Birmingham Open Media on Thursday 16 May, between midday and 7pm. More information.

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