The finishing touches are being put to a new independent cinema in Blackwood town centre.
The Maxime, which was originally opened as a cinema in 1939, will open its doors once again to film fans on August 6 after a £1.5 million refurbishment by company Picturedrome Cinemas, based in Bognor Regis.
Adam Cunard, Managing Director of the firm, said the newly reopened cinema would be a huge boost to the town’s High Street.
He said: “We estimate the cinema will attract an extra 3,500 to 4,000 people a week to Blackwood town centre.”
One of the attractions for the company, aside from the historical nature of the building, was the surrounding car parking facilities in the town, which are free after 5pm.
According to the website cinematreasures.org, the Maxime was designed by architect William S. Wort and had 1,400 seats when it opened in 1939.
By 1976, it was operated by the Jackson Withers circuit and was running films and bingo.
The Rank Organisation purchased the Jackson Withers circuit in late-1976.
By 1980 the balcony had been twinned, with the two screens seating 194 and 170 and Rank also operating a Top Rank Bingo Club in the former stalls area.
The cinemas were closed on October 25 1988, with bingo continuing downstairs.
Finally operating as a Top Ten Bingo Club, the building was sold to Picturedrome Cinemas in September 2013.
The company has said it has paid close attention to restoring the Maxime’s Art Decco feel while ensuring it meets the high standards of today’s cinema goers.
The building has been split into five screens, each complete with the latest projection equipment including 3D.
Mr Cunard said the cinema will be showing new releases, including the Inbetweeners film, on its five screens from £2.50 a ticket on weekdays and £3.50 on Saturdays and Sundays.
Interest for jobs at the cinema has been sky-high with around 400 applications, with the company taking on around 35 staff.
Mr Cunard said: “We were well oversubscribed.
“It is very difficult when you have that many people, but at least it is jobs to the area.
“We had people of all ages apply and it’s great there’s been such enthusiasm.
“In other parts of the country we’ve put job adverts out and there’s been very little interest.”
Blackwood councillor Nigel Dix has been a supporter of the new cinema since plans were first unveiled last year.
He said: “It is going to serve the needs of people with a high quality experience and affordable prices.
“The main thing for me though is that it is bringing jobs and it will be a huge boost to the town centre.”
Before opening its doors to the public, the cinema will have a charity gala opening on Tuesday August 5, organised by Blackwood Rotary Club.
Croespenmaen firm Four Seasons Entertainment, which programs around 145 cinema screens across the UK, negotiated the purchase of the Maxime on behalf of Picturedrome.
Steve Reynolds, the owner of Four Seasons Entertainment and Vice President of Blackwood Rotary, is organising the charity night.
He said: “Tickets have been selling very well.
“There will be a reception at 6pm at the cinema followed by entertainment and a screening of a pre-release film.
“Then we’ll be heading off to the Maes Manor Hotel for a meal and an aftershow party.”
Tickets for the gala opening night cost £40 and are available from Mr Reynolds on 01495 240700 or 07767454316.
Proceeds raised will be going to local charities.