Phoenix Cinema asks for architects, planners and building experts to come forward to help with second screen plans

The Phoenix Cinema in East Finchley. Picture: Siorna Ashby

The Phoenix Cinema in East Finchley. Picture: Siorna Ashby - Credit: Archant

The Phoenix Cinema is asking for architects, planners and construction experts to come forward as it looks to build a second screen.

A year on from its funding crisis, management at the cinema in East Finchley believe that a second screen at the independent venue will secure its financial future.

The idea has been talked about for three decades according to Phoenix Cinema Trust chair Alison Gold. They are now hoping to move towards it becoming a reality. It would allow the picture house to vary the films it shows and allow for more events. It is hoped it may allow the cinema to break even. The screen would be built on the car park in Fairlawn Avenue, behind the venue.

She said: "The cinema will never be fully solvent until we can have a second screen.

"You can keep on more popular films for longer and show other films or hold events in the smaller screen."

Currently the venue, which celebrates its 110th anniversary next year, only has one screen. Last year it was nearly taken over by Curzon Cinemas, sparking a campaign by the community to keep it independent.

Since then trading has been better, with the summer season performing well and films including Downton Abbey being shown in the autumn.

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Ms Gold said: "It has been better than 2018 when we hit that crisis. It was a truly terrible year in terms of trading. We are doing better but we will struggle to break even on this basis, it's the second screen that we think can take us there."

However it is hoped that to guarantee its sustainability it would have to follow the example of the Rio in Dalston.

Its 28-seat screen opened in December 2017 after a £125,000 crowdfunder. It has meant the cinema now breaks even, according to Ms Gold.

"We are right at the beginning of the process. We don't have any money to start with, we will have to fundraise, it's a big challenge.

"We're not counting on people to offer professional services for free, but it's a good time to find out who can help us.

"The cinema should be there for the community and the community can be there for us."

Anyone who has the skills or expertise to offer the Phoenix should email