Shining a light on Sheffield's new city centre cinema

The new Light Cinema being built on The Moor in Sheffield.
The new Light Cinema being built on The Moor in Sheffield.
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The man behind of Sheffield’s new city centre cinema had shed some light on what he hopes to offer film lovers when it opens.

The huge development on The Moor has been hard to miss for the last few months, with first the steel skeleton then the bright white cladding dominating the skyline in the area.

The Light Cinemas UK brand manager Phil Dove and Keith Pullinger

The Light Cinemas UK brand manager Phil Dove and Keith Pullinger

Keith Pullinger is co-founder of The Light Cinemas, which will run the nine-screen cinema - part of a complex that will include Primark and other major retailers and food suppliers once it is complete.

His company, which he started with business partner John Sullivan, will take on the building from developer Ashcroft, working in partnership with Scottish Widows, once the shell is completed mid-November. It will be fitted out with a target opening date of May 2017.

“It’s not far off,” said Mr Pullinger. “We are really happy to progress the site.

“The building has really started to look quite strong in the middle of the city. And everything else is starting to materialise on The Moor.”

An artist's impression of the new Light Cinema on The Moor in Sheffield.

An artist's impression of the new Light Cinema on The Moor in Sheffield.

The cinema and accompanying shops and restaurants comprise phase two of the redevelopment of on of Sheffield’s key city centre streets. The first phase was the new Moor Market, and the third will be the redevelopment of the 30,000 sq ftblock opposite Debenhams.

Coupled with the Sheffield Retail Quarter, the idea is to transform the city centre, combining retail and leisure to bring in more people - and keep them there.

“We were speaking to Sheffield Council this week about the retail quarter and thinking how we can work together to really enhance the city centre,” said Mr Pullinger.

“I think Sheffield is probably later than other cities to really start focusing on activity in the city centre. But every time I come back there is more going on.

“It’s really quite vibrant now.

“The natural home for cinemas is in the centre of town so we are really excited about putting it right in the city centre.”

Mr Pullinger is fully on board with the plan to revitalise the city centre, and believes The Light Cinema can play a key role.

“We are still a small company so we put a lot of energy into making these connections with other businesses,” he said. “We know a lot of the restaurant operators on a national level, but also we work with them on a local level.

“We think about the whole night out and how we can work together to benefit that.

“Sheffield has a massive student population, for example, and I think their preferred place to go out is probably the city centre.

“We will be looking to think about how we can work with the colleges and student unions to put on special nights.”

The Light Cinemas was founded by Keith Pullinger and John Sullivan six years ago. Both men have extensive experience in cinema and property development.

Their first project was a seven-screen cinema in Bucharest, Romania, which opened in 2008, followed in 2009 with a cinema in Halle, Germany.

The firm now has five cinemas in the UK, with four more in development.

The philosophy behind The Light Cinemas is to offer something different to the multi-plex, blockbuster and popcorn experience.

Mr Pullinger said: “We play all the big films but we also look to extend the range we offer to include films that might be popular with the local community.

"We very much empower our local managers to think about the cinema as a local operation, and start thinking about what would work for that particular cinema.

"We are very strong on event cinema, such as live broadcasts of theatre, opera and sports. We try to make it a really exciting evening.

"The philosophy is to offer a really good quality cinema but keep the pricing at a sensible level and hopefully appeal to everyone."

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