Happy New Year from the IFT team!

It's impossible to start any New Year's message without a heartfelt thank-you to all our customers who have purchased tickets in our virtual cinemas, donated valuable funds and sent messages of support throughout 2020. This year has seen us all experience extraordinary circumstances, and while there is scant indication we will emerge from these measures anytime soon, there is always hope that a free future awaits. If the world of storytelling has taught us anything, it's that if you fight long and hard enough for something, it will come to pass.

The continued closure we face at Ipswich Film Theatre as we enter 2021, while beyond our control, is not preventing us from making long-awaited improvements to our premises, starting with our signage: the logo for the foyer is taking shape in the image above, new exterior signage and window decals are on the way, we're repainting our tired old walls, restoring Cinema 1 - now renamed IFT 1 - to its original state by removing the dusty coverings from the walls, and we're embarking on new partnerships with Simply Ice-Cream and Paddy & Scott's as we develop our F&B offerings for you.

Should we be in a position to reopen in the near future I would like to affirm our commitment to your safety at the IFT: traffic is limited to one-way throughout the building and signage is in place to allow for "easy follow"; seating is now alternate rows only and is allocated, with two seats either side of your selected seats automatically blocked from sale once you have made your booking; hand sanitisers are available at the Box Office and at both entrances to and from IFT 1; acrylic screens are in place at the Box Office and the Kiosk; seats are sanitised after each screening; and a new air handling system has been installed to ensure precise measures of air intake and extract based on capacity (currently 77 persons).

On a personal note, all three directors at Ipswich Film Theatre - Jane Riley, Simon Goodall and myself - have been patrons of the IFT since its earliest days, so we share a commitment to the cultural significance of this cinema that stretches back decades. We all have a desire to see it progress, to embrace audiences in ways that we were embraced as young cinema-goers, and to continue the warm and welcoming tradition of its passionate staff and volunteer teams. This year, as we introduce our Young Programmers Group for 16-30 year-olds, broaden our relationship with the University of Suffolk, welcome our new advisory board and strengthen our relationships within the community, I hope that we are able to contribute to renewed success and wellbeing among the livelihoods of the region's residents, film lovers and supporters of the arts.

With best wishes for the new year,
Dan Champion
Director, Ipswich Film Theatre

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