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Dalston’s Rio cinema set to finalise second screen – and unveils project to make ‘customer experience’ better

PUBLISHED: 07:00 01 August 2016

Ruby Wax with the cast of A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Rio in Dalston earlier this year. The cinema is finalising plans for a second screen and says it will improve customers' experiences through a new scheme (Picture: Steve Poston)

Ruby Wax with the cast of A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Rio in Dalston earlier this year. The cinema is finalising plans for a second screen and says it will improve customers' experiences through a new scheme (Picture: Steve Poston)

Archant

Hackney’s independent cinema the Rio has been selected to take part in an initiative aimed at improving customers’ experience when they go to the flicks.

Protesters outside the Rio Cinema in Dalston in May (Picture: Sofie Mason)Protesters outside the Rio Cinema in Dalston in May (Picture: Sofie Mason)

Cinema Know How, run by Film Hub, was successfully trialled at the Broadway Cinema in Nottingham before being rolled out across the country.

The Rio is the only London venue taking part in the programme, which also looks at how to develop cinemas – something executive director Oliver Meeks is particularly interested in. After taking over the charity-run cinema in February last year, Oliver has had a job on his hands keeping the 31 staff happy and balancing the books.

But despite a worker walk-out in May over pay and conditions, Oliver has big ideas for the Rio and is in the process of finalising plans for a major redevelopment.

And he’s finding the Cinema Know How programme helpful, having attended the first session at the Broadway this month.

Protesters outside the Rio Cinema in Dalston in May (Picture: Julia Sukan del Rio)Protesters outside the Rio Cinema in Dalston in May (Picture: Julia Sukan del Rio)

“It looked at the customer’s journey, from how they find out what films are showing to bookings tickets and even to where the toilets are in cinemas,” he said. “We’re trying to emulate what the Broadway has done in Nottingham – they’ve been really successful and created a basement and other screens, and that is our plan too.”

Oliver revealed he is finalising plans for a second screen with the town hall and architects have finished a feasibility study on improvements that would see the cafe and bar reopened.


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