Star & Shadow Cinema has now been shut to the public since mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We can’t wait to open our doors to you all again, but we want to make sure that we only do that when it is safe enough to do so, for all of us as audiences and volunteers.
In the meantime we have shifted programming online, with frequent radio broadcasts on mixlr, and streaming video in collaboration with Cube Microplex in Bristol. Do keep checking our programme for activities because so much is still going on. If you are interested in getting involved in these activities, we will be starting some online inductions. Contact us for more information.
The cinema and events sector is still lacking in clear guidance for how to reopen venues without putting people at great risk of transmitting the highly contagious coronavirus. We are still learning about transmission vectors and best practices for minimizing risks, and we are actively discussing creative ways we might be able to reopen at a lower capacity, to institute new cleaning procedures, to secure PPE for our volunteers, and to make physical changes to the building - among other things. All of this involves a great deal of work and will take time to implement, making it difficult for us to say with any certainty when we expect to start having events in the building again.
Reopening will therefore depend not only on government guidelines and our own satisfaction that community transmission of the virus is low enough, but also confidence in our resources and volunteer capacity to open and manage the building safely. We promise to keep you posted via our email lists and social media, and will give plenty of notice. It is highly unlikely to be before 01 October 2020, and may be much later.
The financial impact of closing the building has been very significant because we rely on people coming to film screenings, gigs and the cafe to pay our bills, including our mortgage with the council. We have a finance collective made up of representatives from each working group who are meeting at least monthly and sometimes more to assess the situation. The hard work of all of us as volunteers over the last couple of years to get Star & Shadow into a secure position, along with emergency financial support we’ve received (see below), mean that over the next year we are safe from serious financial risk.
We are really pleased to announce that we are the recipient of several major awards that will help sustain us during the COVID-19 crisis and our period of closure.
One of these is the Arts Council England Emergency Response Fund. This will go towards crucial overhead costs, volunteer support and new creative programming via 38 DIY micro-commissions to volunteers that will be presented online and in other socially distanced ways between July and October.
We have also received an award from the BFI Film Audience Network COVID-19 Resilience Fund - this fund will support our running costs such as our mortgage, enabling us to keep our building at a time when we have zero income.
Even after we reopen to the public, it may be some time before we can start hosting club nights and other large events that we have relied on in the past to survive. This funding is absolutely crucial to us - it allows us to make decisions on reopening based on real safety assessments and careful planning rather than financial pressures.
This funding will also enable us to invest more in our community and our online / distanced programming, and to use this time to be creative about all the things we can do while our building is shut to the public. We have set up a grant scheme for our large community of volunteers to develop some exciting new radio and video programming, which will be announced over the coming months.
All of our online programming is being offered for free at the moment; we hope that you enjoy it without any pressure to donate. However, if you do feel moved to donate what you would have spent on a cinema ticket or a pint at our bar, you can do so here: https://ko-fi.com/starandshadow
We really appreciate the support of our community through this period and send warmest wishes to you all for your health and wellbeing. Please continue to follow us on social media and our website - there’s so much happening already that you can enjoy from your own homes!
With great thanks to all of our supporters, including Arts Council England and the BFI Film Audience Network - awarding funds from the National Lottery.