TWO Pembrokeshire theatres have been awarded funding to help them plan for reopening post coronavirus lockdown.

The awards are part of £52,000 in National Lottery funding distributed by Film Hub Wales, through the BFI FAN Film Exhibition Fund, to 15 Welsh independent cinemas and film festivals.

Funds will be used to aid recovery, enabling venues to safely restart British and international film screenings, so that they can reconnect with the most isolated Welsh communities affected by lockdown.

Socially-distanced film activities will take place Wales-wide, creating safe spaces where people can still travel the world via the big screen, at affordable prices. Audiences will be at the heart of decision making, with their feedback valued by venues as they rebuild.

Since the pandemic began, many sites have been unable to open their doors to the public. With an uncertain future still ahead, they have been working to diversify their business models, develop robust health and safety procedures and secure critical alternative sources of income.

The film hub funding in Pembrokeshire will go to Theatr Gwaun in Fishguard and Milford Haven's Torch Theatre.

The Torch hopes to reignite passion for film and re-engage their diverse audiences, both old and new, encouraging a return to the cinema after being closed for over seven months. It aims to support and inspire underrepresented and vulnerable audiences while developing the next generation of cinema goers.

Audiences can expect a movies and memories strand, the Into Film Festival alongside the young ambassador's programme and an eclectic mix of specialist themed seasons.

Community owned and run cinema, Theatr Gwaun, plans to reopen as a cinema from next week, offering a refreshed film programme of six socially distanced screenings per week.

Theatr Gwaun will offer supported screenings of new releases and screen favourites, for those with barriers, from travel to cost, and wider social issues. Audiences can expect event nights, audience reviews and a chance to get involved in online forums.

"Film Hub Wales' support means we can move ahead with our new film strategy," said Sue Whitbread, CEO of Theatr Gwaun.

"Theatr Gwaun will now focus on diverse, independent films refreshing interest and developing new audiences in our community.

"Funding is essential, but equally the expert advice, mentoring and enthusiasm of the Hub team has given us a tremendous boost."

Blanche Giacci lives a few streets away from Theatr Gwaun and in normal times would attend screenings at least once a week:

"Theatr Gwaun is an essential part of our community, providing cinema, culture and entertainment for all age groups and interests," she said. "It is a social hub which improves the community's well-being."

Hana Lewis, Strategic Manager of Film Hub Wales added:

"We need to recognise the impact of cinemas in our communities and the potential loss we will all face if they close as a result of the pandemic. Theatr Gwaun delivered medical supplies and mental health support to vulnerable patrons [during lockdown], independent venues have gone above and beyond to help those in most need.

"They have done this while also planning for their own uncertain futures, interrogating their business plans, reviewing their approaches to access and equality and exploring environmental sustainability. These funds will help them to restart crucial social, economic and cultural provision through on-screen activity."