‘Iconic’ Wolverhampton independent cinema closes following financial struggles

Wolverhampton’s independent cinema and arts venue, The Light House, has closed after more than 30 years in operation.

Following financial struggles, around 15 staff are expected to lose their jobs at the cultural hub in the Chubb Building.

With two photography galleries, a live events programme and cinemas of 240 and 67 seats, the venue was the only independent arts venue in The Black Country. There have been several successful appeals to save the venue since 2018 after support from the public – but now the doors are closed.

Regarding the closure, Wolverhampton Council said it had granted £330,000 of funding over the last decade to The Light House and recently met with the venue to offer additional business support.

A spokesperson for the council said: “Unfortunately, though, it seems that the venue’s debt levels were unsustainable, resulting in the very sad situation we find ourselves in today.

“We are now urgently reaching out to the Lighthouse’s commercial landlords – the company that owns the Light House cafe space – to discuss the current situation and their potential future plans.”

Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street, said the closing of the “iconic” venue is “bitterly disappointing”.

He said on Twitter: “These are incredibly difficult times for many independent cinemas, and I’ve written to the BFI to seek their support.

“The Lighthouse is key to Wolverhampton’s community & must be preserved.”

Marketing manager Darryl Griffiths told the BBC he was hopeful that a last-minute deal could be made.

He said: “The sheer volume and breadth of what we cover – the cinema, exhibition space, the artists we attract. It’s a devastating blow to the creative sector on the local level and also the international level as well”.

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