The QT

Tuesday 23 July 2024

A funding boost for Tyneside Cinema

Financial backing for a North East cultural institution signals a “new beginning”, says boss
Newcastle’s Tyneside Cinema has secured significant funding

Efforts to put the much loved Tyneside Cinema on a sound footing have received a £700,000 fillip from Northstar Ventures, the North East venture capital firm.

The money comes in the form of a loan from the firm’s North East Social Investment Fund and is to be paid back over 10 years.

But the financial endorsement was hailed by cinema chief executive Nic Greenan as “a new beginning” for the Newcastle venue – known to many simply as the ‘Tyneside’ – which has endured a rocky few years.

Nic, who took up her post in February, said: “Securing this funding gives us the solid foundation which we need to not just continue the Tyneside’s incredible history but to build a vibrant and exciting future.

“Since I joined the Tyneside, I’ve been absolutely bowled over by the love people have for this place and the passion they have for what it does. There really is nowhere else like it.

Naomi Allen Seales (left) with Nic Greenan at Tyneside Cinema

“My task now is to harness that passion and help drive the Tyneside forward to a place where it is not just a sustainable, independent cinema but a real magnet for audiences, a place of wonder and excitement for people of all ages and audiences of all kinds.

“Everyone at the Tyneside is incredibly grateful to the North East Social Investment Fund and Northstar Ventures for their belief in our ability to transform this cherished venue.

“There is a lot of hard work still to be done, but we are now in a position to progress a number of exciting new projects and initiatives which we will be announcing in the coming months.”

Naomi Allen Seales, investment manager at Northstar Ventures, said the Tyneside Cinema was “far more than just a cinema or a building”.

It was a cultural institution and charity whose activities and influence spread into communities across the region and further afield.

“That’s why, when we were approached by the Tyneside for finance from the North East Social Investment Fund, we were delighted to be able to help,” she said.

“We have seen first-hand how Nic and the team are working hard towards securing the future and legacy of the Tyneside whilst increasing social impact and we are delighted to have been able to play a part in the future of such a regionally important cultural icon.”

She said the firm was also delighted that the cinema has secured a grant of £37,500 from County Durham Community Foundation.

In April last year the Tyneside launched an emergency fundraising campaign after soaring costs and a post-Covid slump in audiences made closure seem inevitable.

This came in the wake of an independent review into claims of sexual harassment which resulted in a list of 74 recommended correctional measures and a degree of reputational harm.

The Tyneside by night.

But the £100,000 raised by the campaign, showing many still held the Tyneside in high regard, secured its immediate survival.

A new era has begun and better times would seem to lie ahead for the Pilgrim Street venue under the energetic Nic Greenan, previously Bradford City Council’s lead in securing UK City of Culture 2025.

“Our aim now is to ensure that there are even more reasons to come to the Tyneside with a new programme of events with some surprises up our sleeves,” she said.

“Despite the love and loyalty, we can only keep the doors open if people utilise the venue.

“Film will always be our focus but we have plans for other magical, unique experiences that you just won’t get anywhere else.

Tyneside Cinema's Classic screen in Newcastle
Tyneside Cinema’s Classic screen in Newcastle

“We’re looking to make the most out of our incredible event hire facilities, with everything from corporate meetings to wonderful weddings, and expanding the range of cultural events to make sure the Tyneside provides unmissable attractions for all kinds of audiences.”

The Tyneside also plans to expand its activities in the wider community, fostering creativity and creative sector skills.

Earlier this year it launched a screenwriter-in-residence programme in association with New Writing North and the North East Combined Authority, offering a six-month residency for a writer based at the Tyneside to create new artistic work.

Applications close on July 29 and details can be found here

Further details of all the Tyneside’s activities can be found on the cinema website. 


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