Cinema refurbishment on track for July reopening

THE refurbishment of Woking’s cinema complex is still expected to be finished this summer, despite constrictions the work has faced during the coronavirus lockdown.

Final touches are being put to the multimillion-pound project at the Ambassadors in the town centre, but the earliest it can re-open under current guidelines is Saturday 4 July.

The 1,500 boxes containing seats for the refurbished Ambassadors complex

Re-opening of leisure facilities such as cinemas falls under stage three of the plans to ease the lockdown. The Government is to seek further scientific advice before detailed timelines and required safety measures are announced.

An order of around 950 new seats, in 1,500 boxes, arrived in Woking from Australia in the middle of May. They were lifted on to the cinema’s roof by crane from Jubilee Square before being taken down to the new auditoriums.

The new seats are delivered to the cinema

Project director Simon Thomsett said. “It’s taken some time and a lot of careful work to ensure our contractors can work safely but we have kept going. We are on track to finish the job later this summer and be ready to open when the authorities allow us to do so.”

The refurbished complex will have seven screens, including a new luxury auditorium, instead of the previous six. There will be two new bar areas, a lounge, and a media room for education, research projects and other meetings.

The Ambassadors closed in September 2019 as part of a joint investment plan between Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG) and Woking Borough Council to transform the venue into a new and exciting state-of-the-art entertainment facility.

The complex opened nearly 30 years ago and has been facing competition from more-modern cinemas in recent years. The Light at Addlestone has been attracting full houses with its steeply banked rows of armchair-like seating in spacious auditoriums.

“It has been really exciting to see the new spaces begin to take shape over recent weeks,” added Simon, who is also director of Woking’s New Victoria Theatre. “Equally important has been all the behind-the-scenes work to make sure we can provide the highest levels of comfort when we return.

“We can’t wait for the day we open our doors and invite our audiences back to enjoy the amazing new, state-of-the-art cinema.”

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