Coronavirus: an update for our patrons


How we have prepared for your return

The UK Government has studied the scientific data, and proclaimed that cinemas would be allowed to open from Mon 17 May. We decided to open on the first Friday after that date (21 May). Together with Allison and Patrick from the New Park Centre, we have combined the guidelines from both the National Cinema and Community Centre Associations who have both worked with the Government to arrive at the safest conditions that allow us to go on screen.


Please take note of these extra guidelines as they are a condition of your entry into the Cinema:

- Entrance into the building will be only via the box office foyer door.
- Visors are no longer acceptable as face coverings, unless you cannot wear a face mask due to health reasons, whereby you will be permitted to wear a visor only.
- Please call the box office before booking if you cannot wear a mask for medical reasons.

- The Box Office will only be open for face-to-face transactions from 15:00 to 16:00 seven days a week. Please note that the Box Office will not be open at the start of each film. Tickets must be purchased in advance.
- Doors to the New Park Centre will open 15 minutes before each screening.
- You will be guided directly into the auditorium.
- Refreshments will be available, but there will be no chairs or tables in the foyer or bar.
- All screenings will have approximately 10 minutes of trailers (there will be no ads).
- Once films start, there will be no latecomers allowed into the building.
- We ask all patrons to practice social distancing when exiting.
- Exit will be only through the southern (Picture Palace) side of the building.
- Toilets will be accessible on a one in, one out arrangement.
- Children (4-14 years-old) must also wear a face covering unless you have contacted the box office prior to booking.

Socially Distanced Seat Plan
Seat Plan 2020

- This new plan has been brought in to accommodate more singles, without taking away seats from the cinema's capacity.
- All pairs of seats that are joined, must be purchased together.
- Note that seats G1&2, I1&2 & K1&2, as well as most of the front three rows can be purchased as single seats.
- Green seats are available whilst the black seats are not, and will be marked as unavailable in the auditorium. The wheelchair seat has been moved from E5&6 to D5&6.
- It is our intention to make Chichester Cinema at New Park the safest it can possibly be for the return of our audience, volunteers and staff.

We thank you for your understanding and patience.

See you at the Cinema,
Walter Francisco

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Chichester Cinema at New Park are happy to announce that we will be reopening our doors for screenings from Friday 21 May 2021, aided by the generous support of the BFI and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. We are looking forward to welcoming everybody back!

We were very grateful to have received a Safety Grant from the Culture Recovery Fund in October 2020, which helped in our Covid-19 safety adjustments made over the summer lockdown. What seemed like a large (but essential) expense to ensure our audience, volunteers and staff could return to the safest possible environment, became affordable with the grant, and released some financial pressure that we (and every other cinema) were under when contemplating reopening.


After the second and third lockdowns in November and early 2021 respectively, the cinema industry was forced into further financial difficulty, leading to the announcement of the second round of the Culture Recovery Fund. We are delighted that Chichester Cinema at New Park has been lucky enough to receive £85,264 of this much-needed support. We cannot thank the BFI and DCMS enough for their great effort to keep this wonderful artform of ours alive, in the expectation that once this difficult period is over, we will come back with strength as an industry. #HereForCulture

- Walter Francisco
Cinema Director & Programmer at the Chichester Cinema at New Park 

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Cinema in a Box

In December 2020, we launched 'Cinema in a Box' - an initiative to gift the joy of film to care home residents who have been self-isolating during the Covid-19 pandemic across the south coast.

Kings Lodge in Chichester was the first to pilot the scheme, with residents choosing a host of films to enjoy this Christmas.

Click the logo above to find out more about Cinema in a Box.

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After 209 days... the magic of cinema has returned to New Park.

Grand Re-Opening

Cinema Director & Programmer Walter Francisco
with Chichester Mayor Richard Plowman
re-opening the cinema on Friday October 16.

Thank you all so much for your support in making this possible.
Tickets for all screenings on sale Now.

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We are delighted to announce that will be reopening to the public on
Friday 16th October.

We thank you all so much for your kindness and patience since we closed our doors on the 20th March.

Your kind words and generous donations have been immensely supportive, and have kept the Cinema team believing that one day we would once again be able to do what we love to do - screen the best in cinema from the UK and abroad.

We will ensure that the cinema is as safe as possible for cinema patrons, volunteers and staff. This will be done by following the Government and UK Cinema Association guidelines, and working together with the New Park Community and Arts Association, who have worked tirelessly over the last months to ensure a safe and Covid-19 prepared New Park Centre.

More information will be shared with you over the next few weeks, including the precise safety measures that we have put in place, and of course, the exciting new programme of films.

See you at the Cinema,
Walter Francisco
Fri 14 Aug

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Hello Again

Dear Friends and Patrons

Now that I'm back from my short break, the Board of Trustees and I thought it would be an ideal opportunity to update you on a few things and answer some of your burning questions.

I have bumped into many of you in the town centre over the last few weeks, so we know how you are all missing your neighbourhood cinema - and we are missing showing you the best from the world of movies; but we have to get this right.

I’m sure you will have noticed that some cinemas opened their doors earlier this month and while we are as keen as you are to get back to sharing some movie magic, we are very different to some of the more commercial cinemas and have different considerations to work through.

We will be able to be clearer about an opening date once we have had the opportunity to consult fully with our staff, volunteers and stakeholders and put in place a plan that makes the cinema as safe a space as possible for you.

As you know, one of the big weekends of our cinema year is our famous open air screenings in Priory Park, right now we can't do that so the next best thing is a drive-in. We've partnered up with our friends at Chichester Festival Theatre to bring you a whole weekend of movies fit for families and friends that will celebrate the best movies from stage and screen. You can see the Drive-In titles HERE.

Don't forget to make a note in your diary of the drive-in event: 28th to 30th August, at Northgate (Festival Theatre) car park.

Thank you to everyone who completed the recent survey. Your suggestions and ideas have been extremely helpful for our discussions around reopening. In order to firm up our reopening plans we will be writing to all volunteers to find out your availability over the next few months and to update you on what actions we are putting in place to make your volunteering as safe and enjoyable as possible. Following your feedback, we will be updating volunteer roles and will be delivering training for everyone as we return. We are looking forward to welcoming you all to the cinema as soon as we feel it is safe for everyone.

We are always keen to welcome new volunteers into the family. If you know anyone keen to join us, please ask them to get in touch at

See you at the Cinema,
Walter Francisco
Fri 10 Jul

Thank you for your ongoing support over the last few months. Our heartfelt thanks go to everyone who has, and is continuing to make donations, renew Friends membership, and send us messages of support, thank you.

As an independent cinema are committed to supporting those in our community who have been hardest hit during lockdown. Thanks to your generous donations, we will be launching a new scheme called ‘Cinema in a Box’, to bring some movie magic to those members of our community living in care homes, adults with specialist needs and Chichester families facing financial hardship.

Your support during lockdown has enabled us to invest in securing the cinema’s future and continue to give back to the local community. If you’d like to find out more, please email or if you’d like to make a contribution to this project or support our reopening plans please donate below.

Click to Donate

That's it for now, but do stay connected, we love hearing from you and we hope to see you at the movies very soon.

See you at the Cinema,
Walter Francisco
Thu 9 Jul

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As you will already know the majority of the wonderful team at Chichester Cinema at New Park were furloughed under the government scheme twelve weeks ago. The Board of Trustees have now decided to maximise access to the government job retention scheme by taking the opportunity to furlough our General Manager, Walter Francisco, so that he can have a much deserved rest and come back fighting fit and energised for the period ahead of us.

This means that the Cinema will close between Wednesday 10th of June and Wednesday 1st of July. During this three week period, the Box Office, Cinema and phone lines will not be manned.

By including Walter in the scheme at this stage we are able to ensure that, in common with many other independent art centres and cinemas, we retain full access to the government’s financial support.

Walter has been working tirelessly on many projects, and along with the Trustees he has been preparing for the future and ensuring that your favourite cinema will open bigger, better and stronger than ever. We are yet to receive the government guidance on re-opening dates for cinemas, but it is likely that we will remain closed until the start of September at the earliest.

Since the end of March when the Cinema lights went down, we have been humbled at the level of support through donations, refunded ticket money and offers of help. Up until now we have gathered the funds raised and set them aside and we hope to use them for a specific project once we are able to open again. Between now and when we are able to re-open, we will use any donations to cover day to day running costs. If you are able to make a donation, we of course would be truly grateful - it really will make a difference for our future.

Click to Donate

Sadly we had to reach the decision to cancel this year's International Film Festival, but you can be assured that we’ll deliver a fantastic Festival in 2021. Here’s some big news and a date for your diary, by now I’m sure many of you are aware of our plans to run a special Drive-In cinema weekend over the August Bank Holiday weekend in conjunction with Chichester Festival Theatre. We hope you are as excited about this as we are. The dates are 28 – 31 August, and the drive-in will run alongside other outdoor events in Oaklands Park.

The programme of films together with details of how to book, will be shared as soon as they’ve been finalised, and we very much hope that many of you, our valued patrons, will join us for one of the screenings from the safety of your car.

As Chair of the Board of Trustees, I would like to take this opportunity of thanking Walter, the staff and the Trustees for working so hard during the past three months to ensure that the Cinema continues running smoothly, and that we are able to be up and running as soon as we feel it is safe to do so.

And finally, I would like to thank all our patrons and volunteers who completed the questionnaire circulated towards the end of May. The suggestions and comments made by many of you have been insightful and will help to shape not only our re-opening plan, but have offered us some ideas for the future that’ll make our cinema even better and accessible to all.

Above all, it is marvellous to be so aware of the support behind Chichester Cinema at New Park, and it means that we are all reassured and excited about the future.

Keep well and safe, and if you’ll allow me to (cheesily) paraphrase Arnold Schwarzenegger 'we will be back!'

All the best, Debbie Ford
Chair, Chichester Cinema at New Park

PS we’ll continue sharing some viewing tips on our Facebook channel too.

Debbie Ford
Tue 9 Jun


In the light of the Prime Minister’s national directive on the evening of the 23rd March, our Cinema and Box Office has suspendedall activity. All Patrons holding cinema tickets for cancelled screenings are assured of a credit note or refund, or if you prefer, a to donate your refund to the cinema.

Please do not come to the Box Office as the New Park Centre is closed to the public.

If you have not returned your tickets yet, please be patient as we will be able to deal with this when we return... although that date is at the moment undefined. We will keep you updated through our mailing list emails and through this website page.


Please join our Weekly Email List to keep updated on all things New Park Cinema during this closedown, and get ideas on what to watch at home when you can't be watching your favourite films at your favourite cinema.

Thank you for your patience and support.

Stay Safe.

See you at the Cinema,
Walter Francisco
Thu 26 Mar

Here is a 3-Part quiz to get you through the shutdown.

Click to go to Quiz Part A ... Click to go to Quiz Part B ... Click to go to Quiz Part C

We are overwhelmed by your kindness...

Click to Donate

Walter Francisco & Henry Beltran

Henry and I wanted to once again send our personal thank you to the many messages from the heart that we have received from our patrons over the last two weeks. At a time when there are so many issues in our world, led of course by this current Coronavirus situation, many of you have taken the time to email and wish us the best through this financially difficult time for the cinema.

Your support over the last few years has prepared the Cinema for a difficult moment like this... and for that, we will be forever grateful. We have spent the last week processing refunds, and the number of you who have asked for us to keep the money as a donation has been inspirational.

If you would like to refund your tickets to a donation, please email the cinema box office on and request for this to be actioned. Henry, Ninian, Nina and Eleanor will gladly do so. If you would like a Credit Note or Refund, please email the Box Office in the same way, and we will gladly do so.

You may also just want to offer a donation to the cinema, as many of you have asked about. We have added a Donate button to our home page, or you can simply click the image below:

Click to Donate


Public Announcement - 17th March 2020:


As you know, the Prime Minister’s daily COVID-19 (Coronavirus) briefing on Monday 16th March, advised that we stop all “non-essential social contact” with particular emphasis on large social gatherings.

It goes without saying that the health, safety and wellbeing of our patrons, staff and volunteers is paramount therefore the board, led by Chair, Debbie Ford, and Cinema Manager, Walter Francisco, have taken the decision to close the cinema with effect from Friday 20th March, 2020 until further notice.

We will be cancelling all screenings and will be in touch directly with patrons that have already booked tickets from the 20th March onwards. We will of course be offering refunds, however, if you would prefer a credit note to use on a future date when we re-open this is also an option. We thank the many patrons today who have offered their refund as a donation to the cinema.

The Cinema team will still be on-site for a limited time, (yet to be confirmed) to process and cancel advance bookings and to answer any of your questions by telephone or email.

We are currently planning for a 12-week closure, but we will be guided by advice from the World Health Organization (WHO), Public Health England (PHE) and the UK Cinema Association (UKCA) and if we can re-open sooner, then we will plan for that and keep you informed too.

This next few months will prove to be very challenging financially for a number of small businesses and charities like ourselves, however we’d like to reassure you that we will be paying our staff throughout this period of closure.

Once again, thank you for your kind messages and support to date with regard to these unusual circumstances, stay safe and healthy and we look forward to welcoming you back to the movies very soon.

Our very best wishes go out to you and your families.

Debbie Ford - Chair of the Board
Walter Francisco - Cinema General Manager
17th March, 2020


Public Announcement - 13th March 2020:

As a valued patron of our cinema, we just wanted to update you on how we are monitoring the ongoing impact and risk regarding COVID-19.

It goes without saying, that the safety and health of our patrons and staff is paramount and, working with the management team of New Park Centre, we have already put the following measures in place:

- Issued guidance to all staff and volunteers on prevention, with particular emphasis on the importance of frequent and correct handwashing
- Hand sanitiser has also been provided for Staff and Volunteers
- Additional cleaning to high contact points

Walter and the cinema Board will follow and monitor official guidance from Public Health England and will keep you informed accordingly.

In line with current guidance, the government has not advised the cancellation of events or public gatherings and so Chichester Cinema at New Park intends to continue operating as usual unless this changes.

If you choose not to attend any currently programmed screening for which you already have a ticket, please contact the Box Office at least 24 hours prior to that screening and we will happily issue you with a credit note that can be used in the future.

We would also like to ask our patrons to follow sensible precautions and any advice they have been given by medical professionals or Public Health England.

We will continue to monitor the situation and will update you if anything changes. Many thanks for your understanding and for continuing to support Chichester Cinema at New Park.

Debbie Ford - Chair of the Board
Walter Francisco - Cinema General Manager
13th March, 2020