PLAZA Cinema In Dorchester Secures Future "For Decades"

Plaza Cinema

Published at 6:25pm 21st August 2015. (Updated at 7:17am 24th August 2015)

A legal deal has assured the future of a Dorchester cinema for decades.

A legal deal has assured the future of a Dorchester cinema for decades.

The operator of the Plaza Cinema has bought the freehold of the building on Trinity Street.

The purchase  was completed by the Picturedrome Electric Theatre Company yesterday for a six-figure sum.

It was an historic moment for the company's managing director, Adam Cunard, and Chris McDonald and his daughter, Debbie McDonald, who run the Plaza and will continue in that role.

Mr Cunard said: "This is the first time the building has been owned by the same company which runs the cinema since the previous owner, the Dorchester Cinema Company, stopped operating it in the 1970s.

"By buying the freehold of the site, it means the future of the cinema is secured for many years to come.

"The Plaza's many supporters can be assured they will continue to be able to see the latest big screen blockbusters and the best in live entertainment from companies such as the Royal Shakespeare Company in a traditional cinema.

"Equally important for them is that we have no current plans to increase our admission charges of £2.50 on weekdays and £3.50 for weekends."

The Plaza was opened in 1933 with King Kong as its first film. Since then, it had only been owned by the Dorchester Cinema Company to make its sale of the freehold the first time the building had changed hands.

The cinema has been operated by Mr Cunard's family firm since October 2008 and has benefited from more than £1million of investment to improve the building in the past seven years.

Two extra screens have been added to take the total to four and two full refurbishments carried out. The latest improvements are just being finished.

They will provide a new foyer, leather seats throughout and a redecoration of the building's exterior.

Mr Cunard has also been keen to recreate the feel of a traditional cinema.

"We have restored many of the art deco features in the building and next month will be re-installing curtains into Screen One," he said.

Even more work is planned in the coming years. "We are looking to further invest in the Plaza over the next years," Mr Cunard said.

"We are drawing up plans to add up to three extra screens in unused space in the building."
None of this would be possible without the continued backing of the residents of the Dorchester area who make the Plaza their cinema of choice.

"Myself and Chris McDonald would like to thank all the local people for their many years of support for the Plaza. We hope this will continue for the next 80 years," he added.