THE RIO is to get a third screen. It will be in the attic of the Kingsland High Street movie house, so long as funding can be won.
The much-loved but far-from-swish cinema has always struggled to win audiences in the face of well-funded competition from Picturehouse, Vue and other powerful chains, as well as Clapton revival, the millennials’ little secret, the Castle.
Until long-established manager Charles Rubinstein finally took his leave, the Rio did not take the obvious step of converting a basement to a small-screen auditorium (nor of getting an alcohol licence for the café in the foyer, which also put the theatre at a disadvantage compared with other cinemas).
Since City lawyer Patrick Lyons vacated the Rio board chairman’s seat, industrial relations have improved. At their worst they were so bad staff went on strike for their human rights. Under Lyons, the Rio fiercely resisted allowing collective bargaining and opposed the London Living Wage.
Loving Dalston is unable to ask the Rio to comment because under Lyons, its executive director, Oliver Meek, imposed a news ban on the news site. Perhaps he will ask the cinema’s sponsors, City Hall and Hackney council, for further grants. Certainly Rio supporters can expect to be asked to crowdfund the proposal, which could cost millions.
In the background, however, with its business-crippling potential, lurks coronavirus.
David Altheer 050320
* Rio Cinema, 107 Kingsland High Street, Dalston E8 2PB (020 7241
* Backstory: Rio workers strike; Union reports Rio to adjudicator; Boutique cinema opens in Clapton; Multimillion-pound truth about Hackney cinema; Dalston cinema fails to keep out union; Mr Rio quits; How Hackney Picturehouse got its premises for a penny
* Pictures © DavidAltheer @gmail. com apart from Rio strike pic. All for sale via that eddress.
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