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After a more than three months hiatus, Peterborough’s Showcase Cinema de Lux re-opens its doors to the public from this Saturday. But after the Covid-19 pandemic the cinematic experience is going to look a little different for the foreseeable future. ESP film critic Gavin Miller received exclusive behind-the-scenes access to the much-anticipated reopening…

After reviewing films at Peterborough Showcase for 25 years – and always having a fantastic relationship with the Boongate-based multiplex – it was great to finally be back in cinematic surroundings for the first time since reviewing Vin Diesel actioner Bloodshot in mid-March.

Gaining exclusive behind-the-scenes access – kindly through Mark Whitfield, General Manager of the Peterborough site – to all of the socially distanced safety measures and the receiving the ‘lowdown’ on what films will be screened, this definitely whetted my appetite to sit in front of the big screen once again – before major releases such as Christopher Nolan’s thriller Tenet (tentatively pencilled for August 12) and Disney’s live-action Mulan (currently earmarked for August 19) are scheduled to hit next month.

Until then the Showcase will be screening classic movies from the likes of Back to The Future, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, The Shawshank Redemption and Pulp Fiction – which are coincidentally four of my favourite films of all time – to more contemporary favourites such as The Dark Knight, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and Mamma Mia!, and recent releases like 1917, Bohemian Rhapsody and The Greatest Showman. All these previously-released films will cost just £5 a ticket, and new films will be introduced every week.

The only new release currently slated for July, Australian crocodile thriller sequel Black Water: Abyss, will have an exclusive preview screening this Saturday and Sunday at 6.15pm, before its wide release the following Friday (July 10).

Saturday’s reopening comes with enhanced health and safety measures for both customers and staff, with new protocols designed to keep everyone ‘Showcase Safe’ – with limited capacity in every cinema screen and strict social distancing rules in place (seen in two metre distancing safety signage image that has since been changed to the updated one metre rule).

This will include staggered film start times during the day alongside fewer screenings, which will mean fewer people in the lobby at one time. Guests will be encouraged to wear face coverings, and multiple hand sanitising stations (see picture) have been placed throughout the cinema for guest usage.

After each screening staff will conduct a thorough cleaning regime, which includes a new anti-viral fogging machine that eliminates airborne viruses on contact, and will be used on every seat on every screen between shows, and at the end of the day. Each auditorium will also have a new air purifying system installed that also kills airborne viruses as well.

Perspex shields have been erected at all till points, with contactless payment encouraged – and a new self-scanning initiative or the use of the self service ticket collection machine in the lobby being the forms used to gain entry.

Mark Barlow, UK General Manager, said: “We are really excited about welcoming film fans back to Showcase Cinemas.

“We’ve been busy preparing for our reopening by making our sites ‘Showcase Safe’ as possible for the comfort of both staff and guests, which has always been our top priority. We encourage all our guests to use the hand sanitiser available, regularly wash their hands, wear a face covering and practice social distancing when inside the cinema.”

So everything that could be done has been done by the Showcase hierarchy to make the reopening as ‘Showcase Safe’ as possible, as this Saturday July 4 – we try and get a little bit of our independence back on ‘Independence Day’ with this new cinematic experience ‘norm’.

Check out for the showtimes to the selection of great movies that will be launched from this Saturday, which are now live to book on the website.

Gavin Miller


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