Two new cinema screens to be built at the Barbican

TWO new cinema screens are set to be built at the Barbican Centre after the old ones had to be shut to stop them disturbing residents in the swanky new flats above.

Part of Exhibition Hall 1 at the arts centre in Silk Street will be converted into two cinema spaces under plans submitted to the City of London’s planning department.

The two existing smaller screens shut last April when tests revealed that the noise from the films would make life a misery for people moving into neighbouring Frobisher Crescent on the Barbican Estate.

A Barbican Centre spokeswoman said: “The conversion of the former City University space in Frobisher Crescent created 69 residential apartments which were completed at the end of March 2010. It was originally thought that the sound from Cinemas 2 and 3 would be able to be contained by insulation works and would not affect the new flats above. However, following extensive testing during the summer of 2009 it became clear that this would not be the case.

“Cinemas 2 and 3 closed for showing films on April 1, 2010, before the first of the new residents moved in. They remain in use for conference facilities, and for talks and lectures.

“While continuing to operate Cinema 1 in its present location, we are proposing to move Cinemas 2 and 3 to a new location.

“We hope to relocate the two screens to a space within the current Exhibition Hall 1 – situated on the corner of Beech Street and Whitecross Street.

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“These proposals have been submitted for planning permission, and if the project goes ahead, we anticipate the new screens will open in 2012. “

For the last year, Cinema 1 has continued to show the Barbican’s programme of special film seasons and new releases. Among the highlights have been seasons dedicated to Silent Film and Music and focuses on directors such as Claude Chabrol and Michelangelo Antonioni. The Barbican has also hosted the Family Film Club, the Met Opera Live screenings and the Bicycle Film Festival, but news of the latest plans has got local film fans exited again.

Alan Stafford, 33, who lives in Old Street, Finsbury, and works in the film industry, said: “It was a real shame when the smaller cinemas closed because they always had good stuff on.

“It was a bit of a blow to film lovers in Islington because the Barbican always offered such variety.

“It seemed a bit strange that the screens closed because of noise in the flats but it’s brilliant news that there will be two more screens because that will bring the choice back again.”