Since 1982, enthusiastic volunteers have been showing 35mm films in the Alderney Arts Centre & Cinema, a large 19th-century building on the islands’ high street. As it has only one projector – and a small portable one at that – there has to be an interval halfway through each movie so that the projectionists can change the spools. And while they do so, most of the adults in the audience rush out to one of the nearby pubs to slake their thirst. Children queue at the box office to buy sweets and soft drinks.
The cinema has an elegant crimson curtain and 90 matching upholstered seats, which furnished Guernsey’s Odeon until it had to close. Although the seats were already old when they moved to Alderney, they have worn surprisingly well and are quite comfortable.
From April to October, the cinema shows three or four current film releases a month, but in the winter, when fewer visitors are around, the number drops to two or three a month. More than half of the movies are sponsored by local businesses and individuals, and all of the screenings are organised and run by The Alderney Cinema Club, which has more than 250 members, including 25 conscientious volunteers who take turns manning the box office and projection room.
The prices of tickets have stayed the same for almost two decades: £4 for members, £4.50 for non-members aged 15 years and over, and £3 for young people under 15. Tickets may be bought in advance at Direct Rentals, located a few steps away from the cinema, or purchased at the box office half an hour before each showing.