THE RIO CINEMA’S MANY FANS will be hoping the long-awaited second screen is getting the Dalston community organisation into shape.
Among them are:
* an inadequate financial reserve;
* staff being disposed of just as a second screen comes into operation;
* falling admissions;
* outdated business concept;
* projectors requiring staff. Saturday Morning Kid’s Club is ended and cuts are made to the number of late-night screenings;
* slow rise in member numbers;
Then there is a line, “loss of investment… £58,371”, re-expressed as “exceptional items” in the latest annual report (for the year to 31 March 2017) — after Loving Dalston raised the topic with chairman Patrick Lyons and its auditor. Is substituting one obtuse term for another how a community cinema should talk to stakeholders?
Lyons hailed the cinemas’s fundraising of £125,000 last summer 2017, including £40,000 from London Mayor Sadiq Khan (who, like Hackney council, somehow suspends his London Living Wage campaign when it comes to the Rio).
Lyons commented: “This was both the most ambitious and most successful fundraising exercise ever undertaken using Spacehive’s platform.”
One wonders what the 293 supporters, whose average donation was more than £400, would think about Rio management spending about£50,000 to get rid of loyal staff.
The report lists many excellent initiatives, including an attempt to use more locally sourced food and drink and ecologically acceptable cleaning products (in a gibe at departed manager Charles Rubinstein the new regime cattily notes that “most of the old products we stocked were not even recyclable”) and a sellout performance by Father John Misty.
As for the problems, manager Oliver Meek reports that he is tackling them.
With limited resources, he is learning just how difficult that will be, although he seems to have tamed the union. Broadcasting, Entertainment, Cinematograph and Theatre Union official Helen Ryan told Loving Dalston: “The Rio is committed to working with us with a view to introducing the London Living Wage.
“We are seeking longer hours on short-term contracts and are meeting the Rio.”
Asked when, she said: “In the New Year.” She was unable to be less vague.
Over at the equally folksy and equally ruthless Picturehouse in Mare Street, Hackney, Bectu members are still struggling for the London Living Wage.
Under pressure from owner Cineworld, they toned down a series of strikes due to start last weekend.
David Altheer 190118
* The Rio will hold its annual general meeting at the cinema, 107 Kingsland High Street, Dalston E8 2PB (020 7241 9410), on Sunday 28 January 2018 at 11am.
* Backstory: Pledge too far for the Mayor; Workers or board: choose, says E8 cinema; Union reports Rio to adjudicator; Rio manager says pay is higher than at other cinemas; Rio fails to keep out union; Mr Rio quits
* All pictures on this page © DavidAltheer [at] gmail.com, and all for sale for reproduction. Most photographs are available in bigger formats
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