The Penarth Pier Pavilion Cinema was opened in December 2013 by the Pavilion’s then director Dr David Trotman (seen here standing in the cinema auditorium). He resigned in 2015

The decision to  close the three-year-old digital cinema at Penarth Pier Pavilion is to be  “regularly reviewed” by the leaseholders of Penarth Pier Pavilion  – the not for profit company Penarth Arts and Crafts Ltd (PACL)

The announcement has come in a news release published by PACL on its website following the “indefinite” closure of the cinema on March 6th and the decision by the company’s board of trustees to cut-back the Pavilion itself from a 7-days a week operation to just 4-days-a-week.

The new reduced opening schedule of the Pavilion began on Monday this week and no date was given for any re-opening of the cinema.

The closure of the cinema sparked a strong reaction from local residents and an on-line petition initiated by Andrew Jones amassed 1,500 signatures within  just a week.

Professor Anthony Hazell, chairman of Penarth Arts and Crafts Ltd

In its statement Penarth Arts a Crafts Ltd, issued by chairman Professor Tony Hazell, says  “First of all we would like to acknowledge the strength of support for the Cinema as evidenced by the number of signatures to the on-line petition. We welcome the many statements made about the importance of the Cinema not only to local residents but also those from further afield. We can assure you that there is no plan to close the Cinema ‘indefinitely’ as reported in some local media,” [no date was given by PACL for any re-opening of the cinema] “ however we have recognised that, to ensure the long term future of the Cinema and of the Pavilion as a whole, we need to make some temporary changes to our operations.”

The statement goes on to say “The last three years have shown quite clearly that with the limited capacity of the 68 seat Cinema the income from ticket sales will never be enough to cover the costs of running the Cinema. As a registered charity we cannot continue to provide facilities that are uneconomical as is the case with the Cinema. We have therefore drawn up a plan to secure additional independent financial support from a variety of possible sources. This will enable us to maintain the Cinema in the longer term and to keep ticket prices at an affordable level. Over the coming months we will regularly review progress on our future plans and hope very much to be able to re-open the Cinema sooner rather than later.”

This is the first time it has ever been publicly admitted that the Pavilion Cinema has too few seats to pay its way.


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  1. Andrewsketty says:

    PACL has finally bowed to pressure in the community opposed to the closure of the Penarth Pier Pavilion Cinema and issued a statement on the homepage of its website

    But please don’t hold your breath…

    The statement is still woefully inadequate and really tells us nothing new apart from revealing further serious concerns about PACL’s management of the Pavilion.

    They are now saying that ‘the last 3 years have shown quite clearly that with limited capacity of the 68 seat cinema the income from ticket sales will never be enough to cover the costs of running the cinema. As a charity we cannot continue to provide facilities that are uneconomical as is the case with the cinema.’

    How totally ridiculous and embarrassing!

    1) As PACL say the cinema is only 3 years old and paid for through grant funding principally through the Heritage Lottery Fund. Surely with millions of pounds at stake PACL would have had to supply detailed feasibility and business plans to HLF and others so if a cinema was not viable it would never have been funded?

    2) Last year’s accounts show PACL spent £60 on marketing the Pavilion INCLUDING the cinema. Local people say they still don’t know there’s a cinema there – which is hardly surprising as it is probably the only cinema in the country that doesn’t advertise it shows films outside! And that’s just for starters

    3) If you do a google search on ‘ how to set up an independent cinema’ you will get a fools guide to marketing etc. PACL’s publicity and marketing is woefully inadequate – as borne out by the £60 spend!

    4) The guidance then goes on to say that you can supplement the tickets sales income with advertising ( on screen, brochures etc), sales of snacks and confectionery, food and drink. PACL’s record on its catering offer is well documented

    5) Unless someone can correct me the major cost of operating the cinema is the film distribution costs and this is set as an agreed % of ticket sales. So if PACL’s finances are in a poor state why cut off a regular income source?

    Sorry but this explanation is really poor. If PACL cannot or won’t operate the cinema then why not hand it over to an organisation that can?That way we can all resume watching films in our lovely unique cinema on the Pier. There needs to be real meaningful open dialogue with the people of Penarth over the future of this wonderful facility

    • Philip Rapier says:

      There are Community Cinemas thriving all over the UK
      Come to the meeting on the 20th March 7.30 at the Pilot and we will set about the task of making the Pier one of them.

      • Kelly says:

        Back to confusion of dates venue and times , 20th march is at the scouts hut, Monday 13th is at the pilot !!!!!!

      • Philip Rapier says:

        I must clarify that the meeting I have convened of the Penarth Residents Pier Campaign (working title) has always been stated on P.D.N. as 7.30p.m. 20th March at The Pilot Queens Road Penarth. I would draw attention to the statement “All Welcome” but must respectfully point out I have no connection with any other planned meeting in respect of the Cinema on any other date.

        It may help to state my relevant qualifications. I am an activist and lifelong member of a leading Entertainment Trade Union. I therefore have “cross party” lobbying experience at the Welsh Assembly with Arts Spokespersons. I am experienced in campaigning vigorously on behalf of both performers and audiences within S. Wales. I trained for the Performing Arts at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and will be eternally grateful to the Community that created that opportunity for me.

        This time span before the meeting is to give the absolutely vital time necessary for the consulting experts who have kindly volunteered to attend to examine the PACL accounts and the relevant points of law. This is necessary to find a suitable Trustee/Community/ Cooperative structure to take over care and control of the Cinema and debate this fully at the meeting.

        I also need time for some further discussion with the “British Film Institute” and their approved Community Cinema film delivery channel “Cinema For All” so as to determine which is the best route for hiring films and securing the Pier Cinema’s future by efficient budgeting, Simply put do we hire direct from Sony, Disney and the members of the Film Distributors Association or through a State Aided Consortium Library of 800 Films overseen by the BFI.
        We are then in a solid position to present a budget to the grant awarding institutions ( e.g. Welsh Arts Council- ) so as to get started.
        Simple really.
        See you at the Meeting 20th March Pilot Pub Restaurant Queens Road Penarth.
        The provisional Agenda is as follows.
        1. Examining The PACL Accounts
        2. Securing the Cinema’s future
        3. Sub Letting the Cinema to the Community by Cooperative ownership.
        4. British Film Institute Guide to Licensing Requirements
        ( Licensing your community cinema | BFI Neighbourhood Cinema )
        5. Eligibility Joining the BFI Approved -Neighbourhood Cinema Scheme ” not for profit
        Rental Scheme ”
        Thank you PDN, Mr. Christopher David and the other posters far too numerous to mention for your support for the Penarth Peoples Cinema.Project

  2. Modom says:

    I couldnt agree more, the cinema has been run as an exclusive club.
    The very expensive leaflets that are left in the foyer are not cost effective.
    The lack of publicity is a disgrace, £60?

    • Chris David says:

      Aha great Cllr Rapier. That’s a good start. Still confused about the meeting supposed to take pace tonight (13th) but if it can all be pulled together on the 20th that would be good.

  3. Timothy Jones says:

    Has it taken them three years to realise that a full house doesn’t cover the costs of film rental/building and staff etc? Why hasn’t Hazell resigned yet?

  4. Clive says:

    My first “regular review” (at no cost) is that the cinema is still closed

  5. Peter Church says:


    Monday, yes we are closed
    Tuesday, yes we are closed
    Wednesday, yes we are closed
    Thursday, yes we are closed
    Friday, yes we are closed
    Saturday, yes we are closed
    Sunday, eh, yes we are still closed.


  6. David Moorcraft says:

    Excellent post Andrew,
    Not to be “clever after the event” but I wondered from the start how a large facility and hall could exist on “Arts and Crafts” (not my ‘thing’)
    No other functions in that large space, which my parents (and thousands of others) danced and romanced in ?
    (They talked wistfully of dancing then going outside onto the little terrace to “cool off and look at the sea and the stars”)

  7. Richard says:

    Hmmm….this statement seems to me to be a sop to alleviate concerns that the place isn’t being permanently closed. I’ve seen this sort of thing many times before. Announce a “temporarily” closure… those keen to resurrect the place are told “Don’t make a fuss, it’s only temporary”…people start to forget it’s there, and… bingo, before you know it, it’s all done and gone, and everyone’s off the hook.
    How can keeping it closed build up interest? It seems to me to be a farce and a VERY STRANGE attempt to keep the building’s fortunes under the control of a particular clique of people.
    Even PDN seems to have rolled over by not mentioning the meeting to try and save the future of this poor building. It said on here it was supposed to be in the Pilot but on signs in the shops who have displayed an SOS poster, the venue on the 20th is different.
    What higher power is trying to thwart people saving the Pier cinema and building from the people of Penarth???
    Also where did the VAST sums of money go?! Why is it all so secret?

    • andrewsketty says:

      As far as I know the meeting on Monday 23th in the Pilot is still going ahead. This was called by Philip Napier.

      The so called Peoples Meeting on the 20th is totally separate and has been called by a local lady called Nicki Page who signed my petition.

      I can only agree with comments on here that believe PACL just wish we would all go away so they can quietly close facilities.

      When I set up the petition I was trying to be helpful in showing how much we value the cinema. Clearly the extent of the support does not resonate with PACL’s plans and I certainly feel as though my petition is just a hindrance to the local establishment

  8. Freddie says:

    is there a sub text to this “statement”, I wonder, as in, “could you all just shut up about the cinema and stop meddling so it can be permanently closed on the quiet”?

  9. Louise C says:

    Surely it’s worth trying to open the cinema on friday & saturday evenings with one matinee in the week? Sales of alcohol to the audience & some upmarket snacks must bring in something too.

    • Chris Wyatt says:

      It does seem strange. Why pass up the opportunity for some additional income, particularly when the Summer block-busters will soon be upon us? ‘Beauty & The Beast’, ‘Logan’, ‘Viceroy’s House’, ‘Get Out’, ‘Blade Runner 2049’, ‘Snatched’, ‘Power Rangers’, ‘Thor – Ragnarok’, ‘Wonder Woman’, ‘Alien Covenant’, ‘Elle’, etc.

  10. Chris David says:

    In deed Mr Sketty and all.”The last three years have shown quite clearly that with the limited capacity of the 68 seat Cinema the income from ticket sales will never be enough to cover the costs of running the Cinema” This sums it up. So these people were entrusted with all that money and didn’t / couldn’t even produce a cash flow forecast in order to test the viability. Oh and they only discuss the cinema, not the overall operation. Have those responsible for “giving” PACL the money been negligent and incompetent and PACL are clearly way way put of their depth if they can open with a statement like that. I would suggest a complete new management body is needed. Good luck in Monday. I have heard from Mr Rapier and explained I personally can’t be at the Pilot meeting in Monday. He has received my suggestion that he produces an agenda (I pasted him my personal points) and outline plan for discussion. There are clearly some competent people posting so I wish you all the luck.

  11. Ann Other says:

    Who designed and installed a cinema that could never meet its running costs? No one with the tiniest bit of practical experience would have done this. Someone needs to BE ACCOUNTABLE designing-in this abject state of affairs.

  12. Marcus says:

    People get what they deserve. If you bow and scrape to a “select” few this, in my opinion, is how you end up. What an embarrassment.

  13. Elsie Wilkins says:

    Used to be a regular visitor to the Lake District where they have several cinemas set above smallish size restaurants where you have a meal (if you wish) and then go up to the cinema, and they all seem to make a good profit out of it. Cinemas much smaller than Pavillion They have latest films and do live streaming etc,

  14. Kelly says:

    All too much secrecy, poor management etc etc , let the Penarth people have more input

  15. Dr R T Wilkins says:

    Poor management and to many directors / events coordinator’s creaming off the cash.

  16. Chris David says:

    Two meetings is one too many. This will lead to division and confusion. Perhaps those proposing a “peoples” meeting could attend Monday the 13th and ensure combined a plan can be evolved. This will become farcical if someone(s) doesn’t get a grip.

    • andrewsketty says:

      totally agree. holding a second (rival) meeting is ridiculous. Too much at stake here for playing games. I just want our cinema open again

  17. Chris Wyatt says:

    Even if the assertion made by PACL that the cost of running the cinema cannot be met from ticket sales is true, this is not in itself a justification for closing it completely. It is part of the whole Pavilion ‘package’ and must be viewed in that light, not just as a standalone unit. Also, it cannot be right, as stated in the website notice that the only way in which the cinema can be saved is by ‘independent financial support from a variety of possible sources’, This seems to be suggesting that somebody is going to have to keep pumping money into the project on a permanent basis. Providers of ‘independent financial support’ tend not to look favourably on investing their money in projects which are guaranteed to lose it.
    In fact, small cinemas can and do operate profitably, even when they are not integral elements in such a wonderful facility as the Pier Pavilion. The problem is that PACL do not know how to do it, will not accept that they do not know how to do it, and do not respond to offers of practical help. As I imagine other individuals and organisations have done, the Penarth Civic Society wrote to PACL on 24th February offering our support and any practical help we could provide in this difficult period. We have so far not received any response to our letter but our offer was made in good faith and remains open should PACL wish to speak to us.

    • Harry says:

      Spot on, Chris Wyatt.

    • William says:

      I’m seeing a pattern emerging…people well placed to help are offering support and enthusiasm in good faith and being ignored by PACL. What the heck is going on there? Who do they think they are?

  18. Maisie says:

    Where is Penarth AM Andrew R T Davies when you need him? Jawing away about Penarth being a great place to live yet no sign of him on the cinema closure?
    We need your help to ask questions about where this huge amount of money went and why nobody is being held to account for such abject failure.
    I can only guess the little clique has put a stop to any intervention whatsoever?

  19. Tina Barnes says:

    Pavilion needs a well run cafe with a licensed bar, both open at lunchtime and prior to and after performances. It also needs a shop selling things people actually want when they spend a morning or afternoon on the front with children, including beach items. Not just expensive artefacts. I understand the project started with 100 volunteers. Where have they all gone and why? A quarter of that number is enough to run a shop on a rota basis, just like Charity shops do, but good management is essential as is proper market research to find out exactly what people want and what they are prepared to spend. Someone above mentioned dancing. Yes, why not regular tea dances on quiet days in the winter e.g. mon, tue, wed? Would be surprised if they did not attract large numbers of seniors. Whole thing needs a professional commercially savvy approach.

  20. Frank Evans says:

    Why have we not heard from the horses mouth. A disgrace that he’s just let walk away from this sorry mess. Anyone know how much salaries were paid to the chosen few?

  21. Mari Jones says:

    I thought the Pilot meeting was on Monday 20th but has it now moved to 13th?? Thanks for update.

    • andrewsketty says:

      The Pilot meeting has always been set for this coming Monday the 13th at 7.30pm. unfortunately nicki page then decided to hold her People’s Meeting the following week on the 20th. this is nothibg to do with the meeting on the 13th

  22. Jack says:

    How is the situation going to be different in one week/one month/one year/ten years time if the cinema can’t pay its way now? It seems to me obvious this is the end of it.
    Who are these people? Why are they being allowed to get away with this? Why aren’t they doing the decent thing and standing down for a group who really want to see the Pier succeed?
    An atrocious amount of money has been spent on this apparent white elephant and yet the people involved appear to be walking around as though they have nothing to be ashamed of? (I suspect they are sneering at those of us who want to try and save the Pier cinema.)
    I don’t know why the others keeping quiet think they’re being clever either. The whole thing is a huge embarrassment. Shame on everyone involved. Look at yourselves.

  23. Frank Evans says:

    Have to laugh at the poster displaying the history of the pavilion. It says the pavilion was turned into a cinema in 1933 with a grand opening on easter Monday, however success was short lived as it closed in June😀

  24. Elsie Wilkins says:

    What is the correct date and time of the meeting in the Pilot?

  25. Chris David says:

    This is becoming confused and if some posts are indicative of the way things are going Monday is in danger of becoming a shambles.
    You need ONE meeting (for now) and unite. Not the Monday one and the “peoples” one. Allegations like directors creaming are at this point foundation-less, from memory the accounts until 2015 showed £157,000 paid out in staff costs, staff- and that amount doesn’t go far between circa 23 directors and managers but again lets see the accounts. “it” may very well be viable in one month- one – ten years. Do this figures. Again lets see the accounts and minutes. Assumptions like its a white elephant and its not viable are equally foundation-less. Let me remind you what PACL said. ”The last three years have shown quite clearly that with the limited capacity of the 68 seat Cinema the income from ticket sales will never be enough to cover the costs of running the Cinema” “Shown quite clearly” !! So its clear that PACL we incapable of producing a viable business plan that included a cash flow forecast. That doesn’t say the whole operation (or indeed even the cinema) is a white elephant.
    On Monday you need an agenda, a vote to form a 3-5 person delegation who will undertake to produce a business plan. To get to the “horses mouth(s)” you need to formerly approach those concerned, they will not and cannot respond formerly here!. You need to lobby, furnish the meeting with the email and phone numbers of PACL and those in VoG responsible. You need a common means of communication. You need to lobby to obtain signed and monthly management accounts (for the future) in order you can produce a plan. You need to be organised. Please- stop the “tabloid” chatter and get the facts. Mr Rapier if you’re reading this I suggest (as I did to you in email) you produce an agenda NOW and ask PDN pot post it. I will drop a note to Mr Rapier.

  26. Chris David says:

    LEADERSHIP needed.

    “Philip Rapier says:
    March 12, 2017 at 09:53
    There are Community Cinemas thriving all over the UK
    Come to the meeting on the 20th March 7.30 at the Pilot and we will set about the task of making the Pier one of them”.

    WHAT the hell is going on? 20th? Someone get a grip please. Mr Rapier clearly says the 20th and above the 13th has been published. What is the date? Where is the agenda? Who’s organising what?

    • Mari Jones says:

      I read 20th in Mr Rapier’s note and called the pilot tonight and they knew nothing of a meeting tomorrow…so should we turn up or not?!

  27. Chris David says:

    From Kelly “Back to confusion of dates venue and times , 20th march is at the scouts hut, Monday 13th is at the pilot !!!!!! Indeed, what is going on?

    • Peter Church says:

      Why are the Scouts meeting with the Pilot, surely they are too young?
      Maybe its the air scout and its flying lessons organised by Phil Rapier.

  28. Frank Evans says:

    Now I am confused is labour councillor Philip Rapier still working for mad left wing socialists neo trotsky comrade Jeremy Corbyn? Or has he joined us prolls.

  29. Chris David says:

    Nicki Page posted this on Change,org. “Andrew thanks for keeping on in your way the campaign. I will keep burning my shoe leather and meeting fantastic Penarth people and others who are full behind the community grass roots I love � Penarth campaign – I have activated all media now and invited them to our meeting in the tabs church hall at 6.30pm doors open Monday 20 march 2017 pls let people be aware there is confusion with a politician putting his last minute meeting in the pilot pub the same night – how silly � of him”
    Like · Reply · 1 hr

    Chris David · Former Chairman of the Welsh Development Agency (Mae Awdurdodd) .
    What is going on? What happened to the meeting tonight- 13/03? Who’s meeting was arraigned first for the 20th? Who has the best credentials and experience. Join up and grow up or it well descend even further not farce. Where’s Brian Rix when you need him. This as it stands is doomed and you’ll all be laughed at.
    Like · Reply · 1 min

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