The oldest theatre site in Wales has made its last cinema screening on its old 35mm film projector and is preparing for the installation of its brand new digital projectors.
The Savoy Theatre in Monmouth screened the newly-released film, The Look of Love, as its last non-digital screening on Friday, on the film projector that was originally given to it by the Empire cinema in London’s Leicester Square. The theatre has been screening films at the venue for 103 years, but the history of the 400-seat auditorium can be traced back to 1794.
The South Wales Argus has reported that the new digital projector is due to be installed at the theatre this week, and will allow for many more screenings to take place, with greater convenience and higher picture quality.
The theatre’s front-of-house manager and projectionist, Mike Harrold, said that the digital switch needed to be carried out quickly as film companies are rapidly cutting back on the distribution of films on 35mm film.
“I will be sad to see the end of 35mm reel but it’s an exciting time for myself and fellow projectionist Paul Halpin,” he told the newspaper. “We’ll keep hold of the current projector but changing to digital will mean that we can now compete in an increasingly competitive market.”
The brand new digital projector was paid for by a private donor who wants to remain anonymous, after the trustees of the Savoy staged a campaign to raise the £30,000 needed to upgrade the projection equipment.