Community cinema a smash hit

The new Jam Jar Cinema opens its doors in Whitley Bay.  Chairman of the company, Dan Ellis. GM022348
The new Jam Jar Cinema opens its doors in Whitley Bay. Chairman of the company, Dan Ellis. GM022348
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A new community attraction is reeling in the crowds and is in the frame to continue its initial success.

Jam Jar Cinema opened its doors in Park Avenue, Whitley Bay, for the first time last month and has already attracted more than 2,000 visitors.

The 42-seat community cinema has been set up by Dan Ellis who transformed the derelict building thanks to a variety of grants.

And Mr Ellis is delighted at how well the public has reacted to the new venture.

He said: “The first few weeks have gone rather well. Since we opened we’ve had about 2,000 people come in. It’s starting to snowball a little bit.

“It’s gone better than we thought. We didn’t expect many people through the doors until maybe Hallowe’en.

“We’ve been rushed off our feet.”

The cinema – which gets its name from old cinemas based in working men’s clubs where people bought tickets by handing over an empty jam jar which the manager would then take back to shops to get a deposit on the glass – caters for the young and old, with cinema ‘clubs’ on Thursdays for older people and Saturday matinees for children.

Between Wednesday and Saturday they show one film a night, either a classic, a latest blockbuster, or a community film.

Mr Ellis, who lives in Whitley Bay, said: “We’ve had really positive feedback.

“We’re still finding our feet but everyone has had a fantastic experience.

“People walk in and think it’s a proper cinema.

“The biggest thing is people finding where we are but we’re in the process of sorting out signage. We’re here for the long haul.

“My dad told me about the old cinema in the town and where he used to go. It spread from there.

“I think it’s going to be a great community asset. We’ve already got visitors to the town, those staying in B&Bs or the caravan park, coming in.”

For more about the cinema and its screenings, visit