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Arts / Mareel ready and ‘excited’ to welcome back the public

Shetland's arts and film venue Mareel. Photos: ScreenScotland

AS CINEMAS across Scotland prepare to reopen their doors this week, Shetland Arts has reassured film lovers that every precaution is being taken to ensure a safe and enjoyable cinema experience including spaced seating, enhanced cleaning and fresh air ventilated screens.

The reopening of Mareel’s cinemas on Friday is supported with a grant worth almost £40,000 from Screen Scotland, which is part of almost £2 million of government support for 29 independent cinemas in Scotland.

Shetland Arts chief executive Graeme Howell said: “We are excited to be able to reopen Mareel and welcome audiences back to our cinemas.

“The support we have received from Screen Scotland has been a significant in ensuring that we remain a viable organisation and are able to bring a great opening weekend back to Shetland.”

The arts agency decided to wait with the opening until Friday to run a “standard cinema week” rather than opening with a partial week.

Tickets for next weekend’s film schedule, including Nomadland, Gozilla vs Kong and Raya and the Last Dragon, went on sale last week.

Head of audience development at Screen Scotland Sambrooke Scott said: “The Covid crisis has presented independent cinemas with one of the toughest challenges ever faced.

“As restrictions ease and hope grows, Screen Scotland would like to pay particular tribute to the passionate, dedicated staff who are working hard to ensure the safe return of the big-screen experience.”

Latest survey results – commissioned by the Film Distributors Association – confirm that the UK public is more eager than ever to return to cinemas, with 59 per cent citing the cinema as their most missed out-of-home entertainment activity during the pandemic.