Liam Jones speaks to Plaza Cinema Manager, Martin Fol, about the reopening of the facility, and the battles it may face in the future…
The Plaza Cinema in Waterloo is an iconic community treasure. Boasting beautiful art-deco that transports you into the golden age of the silver-screen, accompanied by an impressively modern digital marque, the Plaza is one of few cinemas in the North-West that offer tickets and confectionaries at an affordable price.
The Plaza will re-open on May 19th with the evocative picture house taking drastic steps in ensuring the safety of its passionate clientele. Hand sanitizing stations, socially distanced seating and an online booking system, are just a few of the procedures introduced. Manager, Martin Fol, insists “a substantial sum” has been spent on getting everything prepared.
He added, “since we introduced the online booking system, we have sold over 100 tickets for our opening day”. The Community Cinema is re-opening on their famous Plaza Wednesdays, where tickets start at as little as £2.60.
With UK cinemas able to re-open from 17th May, the Plaza face a challenge in trying to steal back their customers from the grasp of the likes of Disney+, Netflix and Amazon Prime. Fol, claims “streaming sites could destroy the fabric of the cinema going experience”.
He goes on to say, “I’ve been there for twenty-two years. I will fight until the end. So long as I remain in charge, the Plaza will continue”. Fol insists it will take at least a year before they know the true affects streaming will have on cinema.
On top of streaming sites, the Plaza must compete with large multiplexes such as Odeon and Showcase. Multiplexes might be able to offer larger screens and better sound, but they do not have the history.
“It’s about the history of the cinema and the personal experience we offer. We build a rapport with our customers and our customers appreciate our staff, many of whom are volunteers working for nothing”, explains Fol.
“People should come to the Plaza because it has character. Multiplexes are like sheds. They’re almost lifeless”.
The Plaza Community Cinema is a Merseyside treasure. On top of the affordable prices, the building hosts charity events, encourages food bank donations and offers special viewings for sufferers of Alzheimer’s and Dementia. The Plaza truly earns the mantle ‘Community Cinema’.
Cover Shot: cinematreasures.org
Plaza inside shot: liverpoolunderlined.co.uk