The Luxe ranked among UK’s top 10 independent cinemas despite being hit hard by Covid-19 pandemic

PUBLISHED: 16:06 13 October 2020 | UPDATED: 16:38 13 October 2020

The Luxe in Wisbech has ranked among the top 10 independent cinemas in the UK. The team are pictured outside the front of the building: left to right Daniel Tierney, Emma Shaw, Nathan Smith and Oliver Sutton. Picture: LORENA HODGSON

The Luxe in Wisbech has ranked among the top 10 independent cinemas in the UK. The team are pictured outside the front of the building: left to right Daniel Tierney, Emma Shaw, Nathan Smith and Oliver Sutton. Picture: LORENA HODGSON

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.

The Luxe in Wisbech has ranked among the top 10 independent cinemas in the UK. The team are pictured: Jen Ford, Emma Shaw, Sam Toomey and Nathan Smith. Picture: LORENA HODGSONThe Luxe in Wisbech has ranked among the top 10 independent cinemas in the UK. The team are pictured: Jen Ford, Emma Shaw, Sam Toomey and Nathan Smith. Picture: LORENA HODGSON

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.

The Luxe in Wisbech has ranked among the top 10 independent cinemas in the UK. Anti-viral fogging being carried out by Oliver Sutton.  Picture: NATHAN SMITHThe Luxe in Wisbech has ranked among the top 10 independent cinemas in the UK. Anti-viral fogging being carried out by Oliver Sutton. Picture: NATHAN SMITH

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”.

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.

The Luxe in Wisbech has ranked among the top 10 independent cinemas in the UK. Picture: NATHAN SMITHThe Luxe in Wisbech has ranked among the top 10 independent cinemas in the UK. Picture: NATHAN SMITH

“This, in turn, supports the companies that make the films we show - on a local level in some cases.”

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.

The Luxe in Wisbech has ranked among the top 10 independent cinemas in the UK. Picture: NATHAN SMITHThe Luxe in Wisbech has ranked among the top 10 independent cinemas in the UK. Picture: NATHAN SMITH

“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.

The Luxe in Wisbech has ranked among the top 10 independent cinemas in the UK. Picture: NATHAN SMITHThe Luxe in Wisbech has ranked among the top 10 independent cinemas in the UK. Picture: NATHAN SMITH

“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.

You may also want to watch:

“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.

The Luxe in Wisbech has ranked among the top 10 independent cinemas in the UK. Picture: NATHAN SMITHThe Luxe in Wisbech has ranked among the top 10 independent cinemas in the UK. Picture: NATHAN SMITH

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.”

The Luxe in Wisbech has ranked among the top 10 independent cinemas in the UK. Picture: NATHAN SMITHThe Luxe in Wisbech has ranked among the top 10 independent cinemas in the UK. Picture: NATHAN SMITH

The Luxe in Wisbech has ranked among the top 10 independent cinemas in the UK. Picture: NATHAN SMITHThe Luxe in Wisbech has ranked among the top 10 independent cinemas in the UK. Picture: NATHAN SMITH


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Cambs Times. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Cambs Times