Until Saffron Screen opened its doors to the public for the first time in May 2006, there had not been a cinema operating in the Essex market town for over 30 years. This is a situation familiar to many of the country’s small and medium sized towns, whose local, often privately owned cinemas closed down during the decline of cinema-going in the 1960s and 1970s, never to be replaced during the later years of cinema expansion simply because the town didn’t have a large enough population to sustain the fashionable venue of that period, the multiplex cinema. However, in common with many other towns, the evident lack of opportunity for a commercial operator did not deter local people who recognised here that the 30 year absence of a cinema in the town had created a strong shared impulse, a cultural need, sufficiently powerful to at least make a single screen venture both achievable and viable.
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