Lights, camera, action: The Rex is coming back!

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We are delighted to report that The Rex is going to re-open in the near future to bring cinema and much more back to the heart of Wilmslow.

Following last year's announcement that Multiyork has gone into administration, local residents took to social media to call for the Rex building to be turned back into a cinema.

Sophie Taylor set up the Rex Revival Group, which attracted nearly 4000 members, whilst Wilmslow Town Council responded by entering into discussions with resident's groups, potential commercial partners and property agents regarding The Rex building and its potential as a cinema, arts and community space.

Work has already begun to turn the building into a two screen luxury, boutique, independent cinema by a family of film enthusiasts who refurbished and opened the Savoy cinema in Heaton Moor in 2015.

Amanda Mundin and her two sons have rejuvenated three cinemas in small towns, restoring them to become an important asset at the heart of the community.

Amanda Mundin started by rescuing the small independent Ritz cinema in the Derbyshire town Belper. Her son Jacob and his wife now run the Regal cinema in Melton Mowbray, whilst her youngest son Louis runs the Savoy cinema in Heaton Moor with his fiancee.

The Rex will offer the latest Hollywood blockbusters and independent films as well as thought provoking documentaries and weekend matinees for the family.

Additionally there will be special senior screenings, cult films and classics as well as live satellite broadcasts from the National Theatre, Royal Shakespeare Company, Royal Opera House, Bolshoi Ballet and world class concerts from around the globe.

The refurbishment includes the installation of a lift to the new foyer and bar area, allowing access for wheelchair users, a hearing loop and audio description will also be available. Whilst in the foyer cafe bar =film books and magazines will be available to flick through over coffee or wine.In addition to a fully stocked bar, all the usual cinema treats will be available.

Whilst it is too early to announce an opening date, the family said "We are eternally grateful to the Rex Revival team who demonstrated the passion for cinema in Wilmslow and allowed us to conduct the lengthy and difficult negotiations with the belief that this new venture will be a huge success - thank you!"

Cllr Angela McPake, Vice-Chairman Wilmslow Town Council, said "From the beginning, local residents have made it clear that they would like to see the Rex reopened and a lot of that interest was focused on the Rex Revival group on Facebook that now has over 4000 members. That has helped the effort to get a cinema back in Wilmslow hugely and I'd like to express our thanks to Sophie and her team."

She added "We are also really grateful to the Mundin family and the Landlords, the Stansby family who have both seen the potential for a cinema in the town and have persevered to get a deal done.

"Membership for the cinema is already available on line and we would encourage anyone who can, to buy membership to help the renovation efforts. We are absolutely delighted that the Rex is coming back."

Sophie Taylor, who set up the Rex Revival Group said "We had our first meeting with the Mundin family back in February at The Savoy in Heaton Moor, a cinema that I had followed the restoration of. Straight away, we could see that they were the right people to take on the Rex. We were impressed by their passion and enthusiasm to lovingly create quality cinema experiences.

"Since then, they have kept us up-to-date on their progress, whilst we have tried to build up local support for the return of the Rex. The encouragement and excitement shown by the local people has been overwhelming, and at times it has been very difficult to keep developments under wraps, but we did it! We would like to give our heartfelt thanks to those who have shown their support during the campaign."

She added "Whilst I have led the campaign, it really has been a team effort: it would not have been a success without the rest of the 'Core Team', which consists of Chris McClory, Ian Illingworth, Heloise Graham, Tony Nicholls, Pete McClory and Lizzie Wilson. Their skills, knowledge, enthusiasm and support have been immense."

The Rex building, one of our few Art Deco buildings in Wilmslow, was originally built as a cinema in 1936. It later diversified and was used for both professional and amateur theatre productions, as well as movies.

Alan Cooper of Wilmslow History Society told wilmslow.co.uk "It was actually often a testing ground for productions before they went to the West End. Stars like Susannah York, Denholm Elliot, Peter O'Toole, David Jason were on stage here.

"Interestingly it was the scene of some controversy when Oswald Mosley held a rally there on 5th November 1939 leading to some disturbances outside the cinema!"

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Comments

Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below.

Rick Andrews
Friday 31st August 2018 at 1:34 am
Will be a great asset and I will certainly be using it. It’s a pity that it cannot be restored to its original format, but that would require relocation of the Revolution bar. Best wishes to the new venture.
Dave Cash
Friday 31st August 2018 at 4:07 am
I await the opening format with interest.
Diane Walker
Friday 31st August 2018 at 8:03 am
This is brilliant news! We prefer the smaller cinemas and have started going to Knutsford, in preference to the larger cinemas. It will benefit the restaurants and shops, as it brings people into town, which is also good news.
Nick Jones
Friday 31st August 2018 at 9:01 am
Great News ! Well done all concerned..!!
Wayne Jaffe
Friday 31st August 2018 at 9:35 am
This is such good news for the town. We have seen so many shop closures but have improved our cafe and restaurant choice. To have a cinema will only help with footfall and attracting new businesses. What with Wilmslow parkrun, Hoopers, the Artisan Market, the leisure centre, the schools, the railway station, the place could be become even more desirable! Shame about the carparking.
Alan Brough
Friday 31st August 2018 at 2:24 pm
A timely reminder that the power of the people shouldn't be underestimated.

Well done to those that took up the baton and ran with it.
Jon Williams
Friday 31st August 2018 at 3:18 pm
Use it or lose it (again).
David Pearce
Friday 31st August 2018 at 4:56 pm
A hopefully prompt solution to town car parking issues - as featured in adjacent report - will be icing on the cake for this really good news story.
Gina Thompson
Friday 31st August 2018 at 6:00 pm
Well done Sophie and team!
Pete Taylor
Saturday 1st September 2018 at 9:19 am
Excellent work, well done; the proposed variety of programme sounds very interesting.
Richard Minton
Tuesday 4th September 2018 at 9:15 pm
Super news , beats Parrs Wood popcorn emporium
Ryan Dance
Wednesday 5th September 2018 at 10:23 am
Wonderful news.

Jon has a point! Use it or lose it.
Angela McPake
Wednesday 5th September 2018 at 12:02 pm
The 1000+ memberships taken out so far are a great start, and are a huge vote of confidence in the cinema.
If you are able to take out a membership and haven’t already, details are available on the Rex website.
I really can’t wait for the Rex to reopen.

Based on the Mundin’s experience in the other places they have opened cinemas, it should bring benefits for the whole town centre.
Carole Thornton
Wednesday 5th September 2018 at 4:48 pm
Great news, can’t wait to start going regularly. Well done all concerned
Laurie Atterbury
Wednesday 5th September 2018 at 6:35 pm
David Pearce, if you want to drive why not go to Cineworld at Didsbury? You’ll find much more choice there. I’m looking forward to walking to my local cinema.
Stephen Hughes
Thursday 6th September 2018 at 8:10 am
Great news ! Well done to everyone concerned. I can’t wait to use it.
Simon Worthington
Thursday 6th September 2018 at 1:49 pm
I was lucky enough to work backstage in the 1970s and early 80s when plays were on and met amongst others Ian Hendry, Jess Conrad, Peter Wyngard, Terry Scott, Lorraine Chase, Carlene Carter (Johnny Cash's daughter) and had a memorable drinking session with John Noakes in the King Billy after an afternoon performance; he then made a complete hash of his evening performance and blamed Barry Stansby for leading him astray. Fond memories and congratulations to all concerned in reopening THE REX. I will use it!!!!
Randal MacRandal
Sunday 9th September 2018 at 11:32 am
Thanks for the insight into how the Rex revival is to be brought about by an enthusiastic family business and local pressure group. I would never have believed it could happen.
I rarely go to the cinema these days because I don't like the big popcorn emporia but I'll certainly go to the Rex. Brilliant and congrats to all concerned.

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