Whitley Bay cinema unveils major expansion plans

Ambitious plans to transform an independent cinema have been unveiled.

By David Sedgwick
Thursday, 30 May, 2019, 11:13
An artist impression of the proposed new look screen and seating at the Jam Jar Cinema in Whitley Bay.

Jam Jar Cinema, in the centre of Whitley Bay, has released details of a huge expansion planned for later this year, adding two more screens, a lift, and more bar and community areas.

Work will start in July with refitting the existing screen with brand new seating and an induction loop to assist guests with impaired hearing.

The Jam Jar Cinema and the additional space it is looking to use.

It will then relocate the main entrance, install a lift, create two new screens, a new bar and community space and add an accessible toilet with work expected to be completed mid-October 2019.

Bosses are aiming to raise the funds through small grants, repayable finance and community crowdfunding.

Founder and managing director Dan Ellis said: “Finally we will be able to welcome everyone to Jam Jar Cinema.

“It has always been our goal to create a fully accessible, three-screen venue in the heart of Whitley Bay. We will now be able to offer even more locals top-end film experiences, whilst staying true to our core values of being affordable, diverse and inclusive.

An artist impression of the proposed new lift at the Jam Jar Cinema.

“I firmly believe in cinema as it should be, for all. Our customers love visiting us for the warm welcome they receive, the cosy and inviting atmosphere and the high definition and sound of our screenings.

“But I have lost count of the times I have heard guests say they wish they could have brought their elderly mum along, for example, and that’s simply not good enough. As a local business we are determined to include everybody and our expansion plans this year will deliver this.”

The development will utilise the space next to the existing cinema, where there was previously a job centre above the vacant ex-Post Office/McColl’s outlet on Park Avenue, which currently has a proposed application for a gym pending.

For further information on the crowdfunding visit www.crowdfunder.co.uk/help-jam-jar-reach-new-heights

Opened in 2013, Jam Jar Cinema has been thriving over recent years, especially since the introduction of digital equipment in 2015.

It has 15 members of staff, welcomes over 50,000 guests and aims to raise this figure to 75,000.

Dan added: “Not only will more screens mean more choice for our audience, it will also mean more local employment, more income for the town and ultimately contribute to the current commercial upturn.”

“Jam Jar Cinema’s development will pave the way for more regeneration in Whitley Bay, I’m excited by an expanded cinema and gym offering, together this will help put the heart back into our town centre and contribute to giving life to the soulless, empty buildings – let’s make these thriving hubs of the community again.”