LEYBURN'S Elite Cinema, right, has reopened as The Picture House, showing its first film for more than seven months – thanks to a small army of volunteers. The cinema is now run by Leyburn Arts Centre Ltd, which is being registered as a charity, and all the directors are volunteers. When owners Geoff and Jude Simpson decided they wanted to retire, it looked as though Leyburn might lose its cinema, but locals rallied round and the £20,000 needed to keep it going for a year was raised.
Company secretary Carol Grieve said that more than 150 people had shown an interest in being volunteers.
"Some have helped with the redecorating, others are helping with front of house and others are working behind the scenes with the graphics, marketing, developing the website and doing other odd jobs," she said.
"Even the solicitor and the electrician gave their time free of charge."
The volunteer team urgently needs more projectionists. The company is willing to pay part-time projectionists as the core of the business will be the cinema.
But it is planned to also use the building for live theatre, music and comedy, with Leyburn Amateur Dramatic Society presenting three one-act plays there from January 23 - 26.
The downstairs room can also be used for art exhibitions, club meetings and other gatherings. A cafe bar already operates there on film show nights and there are plans to open this on a daily basis later.
For details of The Picture House's programme call 01969 624488.