With a popcorn machine, a snazzy projector and seats from an Odeon picture house in Manchester, Skerries has its first cinema to enjoy.
The peerie 20-seater Schoolhouse Cinema opened its doors at the weekend. Complete with Dolby surround sound, snow cones and a hotdog machine on the way it is definitely not a fleapit.
It is the glitzy idea of entertainer, firebreather and magician Chris Harris, who moved to the isle about a year ago. The picture house is believed to be the second smallest cinema in Britain and serves the community, which in 2011 had a population of 74.
For the grand opening a full house enjoyed Stuart Little 2 at the weekend and Mr Harris said the cinema will continue to offer free admissions.
The cosy cinema will show folk’s favourite movies and ones they have never got around to watching.
“I’ve always been into my movies,” Mr Harris said.
“When I bought the Schoolhouse I realised quite early on it was a big house and I thought it would be a shame having just room after room.”
A film buff himself, Mr Harris has about 4,000 DVDs and already had a projector and red velvet curtain.
Getting the right seats was no mean feat, though. Transporting them all the way from the north of England to Skerries proved a bit of a logistical challenge.
“The seats came from an Odeon cinema in Manchester so it was quite tricky, but if you’re going to do it you have to do it properly,” he said.
“I’ve always found in life when things are getting a bit hard there’s nothing like going to the cinema and escaping; even if it’s an hour-and-a-half or two
hours of escapism, it’s something for the soul.
“From the community side, people have got the hall, it was doing things once a month or once every two months but it wasn’t personalised to people.”
The Pink Panther, and San Andreas have been requested for future screenings and Mr Hastings said he can order films online to show the DVDs.
“It’s gone down really, really well,” he said.
● The Bournemouth Colosseum claims to be the UK’s smallest cinema, having one seat fewer that Chris’s mini venue.