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Now Hackney's ambitious Rio Cinema is planning to open a third screen...upstairs

PUBLISHED: 17:44 22 December 2016 | UPDATED: 17:44 22 December 2016

A potential plan for a third screen at the Rio

A potential plan for a third screen at the Rio

Archant

Dalston's struggling Rio cinema could get not just one new screen but two in a revamp planned for the New Year.

Ruby Wax with some of the cast of A Midsummer Night's Dream adaptation Caribbean Dream at the Rio, Dalston (Picture: Steve Poston)Ruby Wax with some of the cast of A Midsummer Night's Dream adaptation Caribbean Dream at the Rio, Dalston (Picture: Steve Poston)

In May the Gazette announced bosses hoped to turn the art deco Kingsland Road cinema’s “precarious” financial position into a viable one by building a second screen in its basement.

Fundraising was due to start the following month.

But the process of finalising plans for the Grade II listed building’s major development has still not been completed – and could now include yet another screen in its “underused” circle space.

Some of the circle seats would still be used to watch screen 1, so views of its iconic sweeping 1930s ceiling will be retained.

A crowdfunding scheme to raise £150,000 for the project – dubbed RIOgeneration – is expected to launch in February, and will initially fund a basement screen and renovations to the outside of the building.

Executive director Oliver Meek has said unless drastic action is taken at the cinema – which is run as a charity and lost £40,000 in the last financial year – it could go under.

“This is about protecting the Rio for the next generation,” he told the Gazette.

“At the moment I’m just waiting for the final drawings from the architects. I’ve made a promotional film, and we will do a funding campaign over 10 weeks with special promotions. It’s taking a bit longer than initially planned – we are working it through with Hackney Council and the architects.

“So many of the capital’s great cinemas have been lost. Let’s make sure that never happens to the Rio.”

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