West End star Peter Karrie and film director Adam Wimpenny were the star guests at the gala opening of Blackwood’s Maxime Cinema.
More than 25 years since it closed as a cinema, the Maxime, on High Street, has opened its doors once again to filmgoers.
The historic building, which was originally opened as a cinema in 1939, has had a £1.5 million refurbishment by company Picturedrome Cinemas, based in Bognor Regis.
On Tuesday August 5, Blackwood Rotary Club organised a charity gala opening attended by more than 200 guests.
Guests were entertained by former Phantom of the Opera star Peter Karrie, who sang several famous songs associated with the silverscreen.
The singer said: “It is amazing what they have done with the building in such a short space of time. This used to be a cinema 25 years ago, but now it’s state-of-the-art.”
Mr Karrie’s Musical Director Nigel Hart was equally impressed.
The Ystrad Mynach resident said: “A builidng like this is refreshing to see – it is going to make a whole lot of difference to the town.”
The first film screened at the cinema was the aptly-titled Blackwood, an independently-produced supernatural thriller shot in and around South Wales.
Director Adam Wimpenny said the title of the film was unconnected to the town and coincidental.
He explained that he and the film’s producer would cheer whenever they saw a road sign to the town as they drove to the film’s shooting locations.
He said: “It’s a huge honour for our film to be shown. It’s great that it has come around to here and it’s really nice to see independent cinema supporting an independent film.”
Adam Cunard, the Managing Director of Picturedrome Cinemas, said: “I am very proud after months of work that we are finally opening the doors to show what I feel is a fantastic cinema.
“The Maxime will be a wonderful asset for the town of Blackwood and the local area.”
Croespenmaen firm Four Seasons Entertainment, which programmes around 145 cinema screens across the UK, negotiated the purchase of the Maxime on behalf of Picturedrome.
Owner Steve Reynolds is Vice President of Blackwood Rotary.
He said: “The night was fantastic and the film went down very well. We couldn’t have asked for better.”
The charity gala, and after party at the Maes Manor Hotel, raised an estimated £4,000 which will go to local causes.