Watershed, which has been closed since March 2020, has announced its reopening date.
The independent cinema located on Bristol’s harbourside will open its doors again on Tuesday, September 1 2020.
The Watershed team announced the reopening date, calling the past few months have been “hard, sad and bewildering but also uplifting and hopeful”.
In a blog post, CEO Clare Reddington revealed the difficulties the cinema has faced during 2020.
“In the last few months I have been to A LOT of meetings where we all start by listing our misery, the facts and figures that a paint a picture of how bad things are.
“I get up in the morning and dread these meetings – but accept that it’s important to bear witness, to give an account of what is in danger, to advocate for support.
“But this is of course just one part of the Covid story – there is also innovation, new ways of working and staff working tirelessly to keep things going in difficult times.”
Watershed has continued to work with BFI Network South West, Pervasive Media Studio and Rife throughout the pandemic, and has supported Bristol Arts Channel and Bristol and Bath Creative R&D.
When the coronavirus pandemic forced the cinema’s closure in March, Watershed was doing “extremely well”, having had its best trading month in February 2020.
“Sadly the sector’s change in fortunes has meant we have had to run a painful redundancy process, which will mean saying goodbye to 35 team members, which is deeply sad,” Clare says.
“Looking ahead, things are likely to remain tough – social distancing and reduced capacity means we are forecasting a drop in income of around £1.5m between September 2020 and March 2021, which will result in substantial losses.”
The CEO welcomes the Government’s support but says that it can’t be “counted on” to mitigate the organisation’s losses.
Clare also offers solidarity to the city’s cultural scene: “Of course it is not just us that is suffering – the cultural sector in Bristol is very vulnerable right now and its future is very uncertain.
“From large venues to nightclubs to small businesses, artists and freelancers – creativity and artistic innovation characterises the city – it is what draws businesses here, makes its independent spirit, contributes to wealth and delivers social impact.
“The whole ecology needs support to enable it to thrive again, and its vital we work collaboratively on the new solutions we will need.”
Ahead of the cinema’s reopening on September 1, 2020, the Watershed will share plans with the public and launch welcome videos.
The team at Watershed have also been compiling risk assessments and reopening plans to ensure the cinema can safely operate upon reopening.
Main photo: Martin Booth
Read more: Watershed reveal reopening plans