WHITEHAVEN’S much-loved cinema is set to re-open.

Film-lovers will be able to take a trip down memory lane and enjoy a movie at the Gaiety – some 12 years after it closed.

It will only be for one special weekend but there are hopes someone may eventually re-open it permanently.

The Tangier Street cinema will be back in action for Whitehaven Film Festival on June 19/20.

And a huge community effort is helping to get the building in order so that it can re-open to the public.

“This is a chance for anyone who spent time in the back row of the Gaiety to take a trip back in time!” said festival chief organiser Gerard Richardson.

The cinema closed in 2003 because of falling audience numbers.

“A gigantic effort is taking place now to get it open again for the weekend,” said Gerard, recently named one of Cumbria Life’s 200 most influential Cumbrians.

“We will be using the same screen and seats but putting in a full digital package instead of the reel to reel.”

He added: “There’s a real option here for someone to take the cinema on again and to re-open it in the future. Everyone has a lot of memories of the Gaiety, come along and satisfy your curiosity.”

Carillion and Tony Roberts are among those helping to spruce the cinema up.

Nick Smith, managing director of Graves Cumberland which owns the cinema, said: “It needs some work on the place and Gerard found some backers to give it an overhaul for the festival.”

Asked if there were any plans to re-open more permanently, he said: “We have had various approaches in the past but none of them have come to anything. It would require a significant amount of investment to do it properly.

“We are happy to help the festival out and we will see what feedback we get and keep an open mind,” he added.

The two-day event promises to be even bigger than the recent Home and Garden Show, with an extended fair onto Queen’s Dock, increased stalls and a huge air display on the Friday evening.

The spectacular Red Arrows will be joined by the Red Devils and the Battle of Britain air display team between 6pm-7.30pm. There will also be the Royal Navy dive team as well as the Sellafield dive team.

A wristband (£4 a day) allows people into any of the three mobile cinemas on the harbourside, luxury toilets and a chance to then purchase tickets for a showing at the Gaiety (expected to be around £3 per film). Wristbands are on sale now in Richardson’s shop, Lowther Street and Gaiety tickets will be on sale in a week’s time.

Classic films to be shown across the event include The Great Escape, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Top Gun, Casablanca, Mary Poppins, The Lion King, Toy Story, Chicken Run and There’s Something About Mary.

At the Gaiety there will be three Batman movies across three evenings. There will also be two matinees including The Dam Busters.

In The Rum Story over the same weekend there will be a showing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show on the Friday and a world premiere of Blood Lust on the Saturday.