Phoenix Cinema redevelopment plans for 2024


Phoenix Cinema Redevelopment Plans for 2024


An exciting new era for the Phoenix

The Board of trustees of the Phoenix has put in place a plan to secure a more sustainable future for the cinema. This involves creating a small second screen within the main building in the former café area and updating the foyer and main auditorium to provide a better experience for our customers.

In order to fund the redevelopment, we have taken the decision to sell a small piece of unused land behind the cinema. After careful consideration of all the options, the Board believes this is the best way forward to ensure the Phoenix can thrive in the future for the benefit of the local community.



Is the Phoenix being sold?

No. The Phoenix has been owned and operated independently by a Charitable Trust? since the 1980s and there is no prospect of that changing.

Is the Phoenix going to close?

No. Despite a challenging cinema market, we are doing everything we can to keep it open and that includes providing a better experience for our members and other customers.

What is being sold?

A small piece of land behind the cinema. We are not selling the land on which the cinema sits or the building.

Why is the land being sold?

The Phoenix has owned this land for 40 years but has never made good use of it or found a way that any building on it could be linked to the main cinema, due to the listed features in the main auditorium which we need to protect. It has no ‘designated purpose’ for the Phoenix charity, so we are free to sell it. Selling the land means we can fund some of the redevelopment work which we believe is essential to the cinema’s future.

Why can’t the Phoenix build a second screen on it?

Having a separate building on that land would necessitate a new ‘front of house’ and the extra costs involved in running that would exceed its revenue.

Has it been sold yet?

The land is under offer.

Who is buying it? What will they do with it?

We cannot disclose the identity of the buyer at this stage. We will put a restriction on the land so that it can only be used for residential or office purposes.

What will you do with the proceeds from the land sale?

We want to make the Phoenix more appealing to a wider group of our local community. Our first priority is to build the second screen. We can then show two films at once and have more flexibility to offer private hires, etc. We also want to improve our audience’s experience at the Phoenix, with a better front of house/foyer and new, much more comfortable seating in the main screen.

When will we know more about the redevelopment plans?

We will soon be ready to share our plans, including visuals of the second screen so you can see what we are working towards.

Is the Phoenix in financial trouble?

Cinema going across the UK has not recovered since the pandemic, operating costs (energy, etc) have risen and all UK cinemas are finding this tough. The Phoenix is financially stable at the moment, but we need to take action to boost our audience numbers to make it more secure for the future. A second screen within the main building is the best way to do this.

Can I find out more about how the Phoenix is doing?

Yes. We report each year to the Charity Commission – see here. And we submit detailed, externally audited accounts each year to Companies House – see here.

Couldn’t the Phoenix fundraise rather than sell the land?

The Phoenix regularly undertakes fundraising. It is currently installing new sound equipment paid for by a grant from Barnet Council that we applied for.

In 2023, we also introduced a donation option to our online ticket booking form and this brings in welcome extra revenue every month.

We are also applying for grants from a range of bodies to supplement the proceeds from the land sale and maximise the redevelopment opportunity. We will also soon open up opportunities for our community to support our redevelopment through things like seat sponsorship.

What happened to the support that the Phoenix got from the UK government during covid?

The UK government’s Culture Recovery Fund helped cinemas and other arts venues cover their operating losses during and after the pandemic. It was vital to the Phoenix over many months when very few people came to the cinema. In line with its normal procedures, the BFI audited how the Phoenix spent this money and it found that we had spent it to cover our expected operating losses during this time. 

Who are the trustees?

The Board of Trustees is made up of local volunteers who are committed to securing the best possible future for the Phoenix. We have fundraising, accountancy, legal, marketing, film and arts expertise on the board. Some trustees have served for many years and have a detailed understanding of the cinema’s operations and finances. Some are newer and bring fresh thinking to the board. We are all legally obliged to act in the cinema’s best interests and we are wholly responsible for the outcome of the decisions we take.

To whom is the Phoenix board accountable?

In line with its Articles of Association, drawn up in the 1980s, the Phoenix board reports to a wider group of Company Members, drawn from the local community, many of whom have been involved with the Phoenix for many years. The board holds an AGM with Company Members each year to discuss its performance, including putting up directors for re-election.

If you have further questions or would like to support the redevelopment, please


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