Leiston Theatre, United Kingdom, Customer Story

Leiston Film Theatre
The interior of Leiston Film Theatre

“We were looking for the ultimate 3D experience, and we think Dolby delivers it.”

Hannah Barber
Assistant Manager, Leiston Film Theatre, United Kingdom

This year, Leiston Film Theatre celebrates its 96th anniversary. Suffolk’s oldest purpose-built cinema and theater first opened its doors on October 27, 1914. Today it boasts a 300-seat auditorium (plus four wheelchair spaces) that was recently redecorated thanks to funds raised by its 250-member Support Club. The cinema works hard to meet its patrons’ demands and is rewarded with loyal customers who keep coming back for more.

The Digital Switch

During an annual trip to London to meet film distributors, Assistant Manager Hannah Barber quickly realized the cinema needed to make the switch to digital. Back in Leiston, she spent six weeks speaking with independent cinemas to find out how they had made the switch, which products they had chosen, and why. Since the cinema’s main income comes from family genre movies and much of this content is now 3D, she came to the conclusion that 3D was the only way forward. 

“We knew we needed to make the digital step as we didn’t want to lose customers or get left behind,” says Barber. 

At a Cinema Exhibitors’ Association 3D conference, Barber and her team experienced multiple vendors’ products, but it was Dolby® 3D that “amazed” them.       

“The picture quality and the 3D were amazing,” says Barber. “We were looking for the ultimate 3D experience, and we think Dolby delivers it.”

Dolby’s 3D system includes reusable 3D glasses that are cleaned and disinfected after every use. Barber says their patrons don’t mind giving the glasses back after the show ends. The cinema produced a leaflet to explain about how the glasses are kept hygienic for each screening using a regular dishwasher in accordance with Dolby’s cleaning instructions.

Barber says, “I’m a regular glasses-wearer, and the Dolby 3D glasses fit nicely over my own. They are very comfortable to wear and they block out light from the sides, which is great.”

Going digital and going 3D comes with a price tag but delivers great results. Barber says she’s grateful to the cinema’s Support Club, which has raised more than £100,000 during the past 10 years to help fund projects for the theater, including this one.     

“It’s all going really well for us,” says Barber. “We recently showed Avatar again. Our customers came out of the auditorium saying the colors were amazing and that our 3D experience is much better than anything they’ve experienced elsewhere.” 

“People are coming back again and again to watch 3D here. We have Dolby to thank for that!”