The Ipswich Film Theatre is a non-profit organisation, relying significantly on the goodwill of its volunteer workforce. It was established in 1975 by Councillor Robert Cross of the Ipswich Borough Council. Cross had a deep love for cinema and as a public servant to the people of Ipswich took the bold decision to convert the basement of the town’s Corn Exchange, situated in the Town Hall, into a cinema to bring the very best of the art form to Suffolk.
The Ipswich Film Theatre later formed an important organ in the Corn Exchange’s life as a cultural centre for Suffolk, combining the cinema with the building’s Grand Hall to offer a cross-cultural experience for lovers of the arts in the region.
The Ipswich Film Theatre was the grateful recipient of generous BFI funding in its early days and this funding allowed for some bold programming decisions, offering audiences a rich and diverse taste in film: the celebration of foreign cinema was a core tenet of the programming team, and British films were curated with care. Local films and amateur filmmakers were also showcased, with regular performances of locally shot 16mm films forming a centrepiece of the Film Theatre’s year-round programme.
The Film Theatre’s new directors, Neil McGlone, manager of The Riverside Theatre in Woodbridge, and Daniel Champion, former manager of Aldeburgh Cinema, see the Ipswich Film Theatre’s role in the wider independent theatrical exhibition sector as vitally important to the voice of film in the region. New plans include developing closer relationships with local partners and volunteer organisations, introducing a Young Programmers Group in which 16-30 year-olds gain industry and personal experience by selecting and programming their own films, encouraging diversity in its Advisory Board to encompass a deeper appreciation of culture in film, to engage with underserved audiences in the region and to regain the Film Theatre’s standing as a regional hub of film appreciation. And to have a lot of fun along the way!
The directors are supported by an Advisory Committee whose members include James King, Dr. Lucy Walker, James Rocarols and Dr. Adam Rutherford.
Many of the staff you see at the I.F.T. are volunteers and we are extremely grateful to those who give up their time as kiosk operators and ushers. If you’re interested in joining the I.F.T. as a volunteer please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you’re interested in getting involved with the Young Programmers Group or sponsoring our Music Monthly performance please contact email@example.com.
If you would like to discuss any other opportunities and means of supporting Ipswich Film Theatre please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Friends of IFT
The Ipswich Film Theatre’s Friends’ scheme is currently discontinued. If you are a member of this scheme we are honouring your membership to the end of your subscription period and extending this by seven months to cover the enforced period of closure during 2020.
We will be introducing a new membership programme in 2021.