EXCLUSIVE: First look inside Sheffield's new city centre cinema ahead of opening this month

The Light cinema on The Moor will open on April 14.
The Light cinema on The Moor will open on April 14.
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A new cinema experience in Sheffield city centre is just over a week away.

The Light will open on The Moor on Friday next week, promising a 'luxury' environment at affordable prices.

The cinema will show everything from blockbusters to independent films and live streaming across its nine screens.

Visitors will also be treated to top quality food and drink, with local providers including Kelham Island Brewery and Our Cow Molly ice cream on offer in a lobby that overlooks Charter Square.

The huge £8 million complex also includes a number of restaurants, such as Zizzi and Gourmet Burger Kitchen, along a concourse that runs from The Moor to Charter Row.

The Light co-founder Keith Pullinger said his firm aimed to provide a 'special experience' that would leave people smiling.

"We are a mainstream cinema promoter but we also try to put on a more interesting and varied programme out for all tastes," he said.

"It's very much a luxury environment, but at normal ticket prices.

"We concentrate on each cinema having its own identity and personality for the city. It's engaging with the community on the programme, the food and drink, on special events.

"We are not a big corporate so we look local. We've brought in Kelham Island Brewery, we've got an independent coffee producer that we work with, and we've got Our Cow Molly.

Inside screen one.

Inside screen one.

"They are the little touches. But also we have more varied food than you would see in most multiplexes. We've got fresh waffles and organic hot dogs."

Mr Pullinger said today's customers expected more from their evenings out, and cinemas could no longer rely on films alone to sell tickets.

"We are in the out-of-home experience sector, so we compete for people who have decided they are going to a restaurant or the theatre," he said.

"We think cinemas need to work harder on the experience. We want people to feel the experience is special."

The Light CEO Keith Pullinger and commercial director Mike Thomson.

The Light CEO Keith Pullinger and commercial director Mike Thomson.

And Mr Pullinger sees The Light as a key factor in keeping people in the city centre past 6pm.

While developments including the Moor Market and the new Primark are increasing footfall during the day, the street is largely empty in the evenings.

"The whole regeneration of the city centre is fantastic to see," said Mr Pullinger. "The Moor is very much a central part of that.

"At the moment it closes at about 6pm but with the restaurants and cinema coming in, it's going to move the economy."

The final fittings and fixtures are still going in, but The Light will be open for a special preview screening of Fast and Furious 8 on Thursday next week.

In the meantime visitors to The Moor will be able to win prizes by taking selfies at one of the new kiosks outside the building. There will also be food tasters for a preview of the cinema experience.

Inside the lobby.

Inside the lobby.

The 37 staff have been recruited, and general manager Ashley Inman will be tasked with choosing films and organising events to reflect the interests of Sheffielders.

"Everyone is feeling calm, which is a good thing," said Mr Pullinger. "The work is on target. There's a lot going on and everyone is excited now.

"We've got the team recruited and staff are being trained. We've got sound and projection going in. It's at the exciting point.

"It's only really now that we can start to see the final vision. The seats and the soft furnishings - you are starting to see the design."

He added: "Sheffield is a really big city but the mainstream cinemas are not as good as they could be, and we are hopefully going to change that."

For tickets and film times visit sheffield.lightcinemas.co.uk.

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Zizzi and Gourmet Burger Kitchen are among the seven restaurants that will open along the concourse.

Zizzi and Gourmet Burger Kitchen are among the seven restaurants that will open along the concourse.