The Luxe ranked among UK’s top 10 independent cinemas despite being hit hard by Covid-19 pandemic
- Credit: Archant
The general manager of The Luxe in Wisbech said it was a “lovely shock” to be ranked among the UK’s top 10 independent cinemas, having initially been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Nathan Smith said that, back in March, the Luxe Cinema was seeing some of its best admission rates in years which - given increasing competition across the region - was fantastic”.
He and the team decided to close the cinema ahead of the lockdown rules set out by the government because “we were uncomfortable putting guest’s health below our profits.”
Since reopening - “it was integral that I would be able to confidently welcome visitors back, safely and comfortably, while also keeping my team happy and healthy - the Luxe have put a series of safety measures in place throughout the site.
These include temperature checks on arrival, handwashing stations within the foyer area, screens around the bar and a plant-based anti-viral fogging process that cleans the air in the building.
Those opening weeks, he says, “were pretty fantastic with admissions exceeding our expectations - but with some of the bigger titles after Tenet being delayed we have seen a bit of a dip recently”.
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It has however enabled The Luxe to screen more films that they usually wouldn’t at this time of year, with a particular focus on showing as many British productions as possible.
“This, in turn, supports the companies that make the films we show - on a local level in some cases.”
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Nathan added that Picturedrome, the company that runs The Luxe, have been “incredibly supportive” and have “ensured that no expense was spared when it comes to safety”.
Ranking among the UK’s top 10 independent cinemas, Nathan says, was “quite the shock - but a lovely one at such a challenging time for the cinema industry.
“I am particularly pleased that this highlights the efforts my team put in on a day to day basis, ensuring that every visit is as enjoyable as possible.
“It is also clear that our approach of screening the best of cinema at affordable prices is also one that has won us a lot of fans. No one should have to remortgage their home just to enjoy a trip to the flicks.”
Another thing that he thinks helps the Luxe stand out is that the team “spend a lot of time and effort to ensure that our guests are treated as individuals.
“And while some cinemas may adopt a ‘get ‘em in, get ‘em out’ strategy, we ensure that we are getting to know our regulars as well as we can.
“For example, we know that Mr Wells prefers to enjoy his ice cream pot of choice with a teaspoon, brought in half way through the film.
“Small efforts can have huge benefits and it never hurts to take the time to chat to a guest.”
He added that the Luxe’s part in the community “extends way beyond showing a film”, for example taking part in the Fun Palaces scheme that as well as hosting the launch of the Minecraft Wisbech project.
The Luxe have also worked with the U3A to offer film discussion and screening sessions as well as working alongside local schools.
Looking ahead, Nathan says he and the team are “incredibly optimistic that instead of the doom and gloom that is being reported about some of the bigger cinemas that have been hit particularly badly, the independent cinema circuit, particularly smaller sites like the Luxe, are now in a fantastic position to introduce audience members to a whole new side of film.
“I am very much of the belief that when you support your community, your community supports you, and so far that has been more than evident.
“We are already looking at other areas to further diversify our offerings and we are about to launch a new web-based ordering service, while also continuing our renovations and improvements across the building.”