Honiton Community Cinema marks the special occasion with a packed out screening.

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Honiton Community Cinema continues to grow in popularity and has celebrated its first anniversary since it was set up last September – bringing the big screen to the town.

To mark the occasion the cinema committee held a special screening of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel last Friday.

Starring Maggie Smith, Dame Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, Tom Wilkinson and Dev Patel, the film follows a group of British retirees who move to India to spend their golden years in peace but find they have got more than they bargained for.

Audiences packed out the Mackarness Hall to celebrate the milestone, including the town’s mayor Councillor David Foster.

“We feel very proud and excited to be able to bring the cinema back to Honiton after such a long absence from the town,” said community cinema committee chairman Peter Corke.

“We think it has been successful because people have missed the local entertainment, and there is not much on TV these days that interests the older population.”

The cinema is run by a committee of volunteers including Ian Jeeves, Terry Farebrother, Angeline Askew, Ray Alsop, June Brown, Julia Beaman, Lindsay Hyslop, and Katherine Ohlsen.

Since it was established it has gained backing from local businesses in the town and has support from other individual volunteers and organisations.

“It has grown because word is getting around the town and the outer areas that we are in business, and also we seem to be showing the right films,” adds Mr Corke. “With a total population of some 20,000 people in the town and surrounding villages, we are hoping that the audience will increase.”

For the very first time an early matinee performance was held as a pilot, which proved to be a success.

Mr Corke added: “The committee will have to decide if it can be run on a regular basis, bearing in mind of course that it is run by volunteers, but certainly it should perhaps run in the winter months, with the dark evenings and bad weather.”

The cinema was set up by Marianne Harman and launched last year with a screening of Life in a Day by Ridley Scott and Kevin MacDonald.

Other screenings since have included Jane Eyre, Brighton Rock, The Woman in Black, The Help and The Artist.

Mr Corke told the Midweek Herald that it is hoped the cinema, which is currently housed in the Mackarness Hall, will move to the Beehive Community Centre, and that audience numbers will continue to grow.

He added: “We have sufficient funds to carry on for the foreseeable future.”

Forthcoming screenings include War Horse and Mao’s Last Dancer. For more information visit www.honitoncommunitycinema.co.uk Screenings take place once a month in the Mackarness Hall at 7pm for 7.30pm, and tickets can be purchased from Honiton Tourist Information Centre and Honiton Toy Shop or on the door.

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