I interviewed Leona, a member of staff at Ryde Commodore Cinema, with the hopes of getting to hear her views on what she feels is special about an outing to the cinema, how the popularity of streaming services has impacted them and why people on the Island should still show their support for what is viewed by many to be such an iconic part of Ryde’s history. 

I began the interview by asking Leona what she personally feels is so special about a trip to the cinema, to which she responded: “I think a lot of people say they like it because it’s something that’s not modern but retro in a way.

"Our tickets are affordable too, at £4. It can be a nice experience for families and it just beats staying at home sometimes.” 

Isle of Wight County Press: The entrance to Ryde's Commodore CinemaThe entrance to Ryde's Commodore Cinema (Image: Ruby Hendey)

Commodore Cinema first made its debut in Ryde in 1936 and at the time was the largest cinema on the Isle of Wight.

Knowing this, I asked Leona if a lot of customers mention the nostalgia surrounding the building. She commented on its unchanged nature and mentioned how this has a certain appeal to particularly older customers.

She said: “People come in and say how they love it here. It’s from their childhood and brings back so many memories. Someone came in saying how they used to come here every Sunday for the cinema club and they couldn’t believe it’s still the same.”

Leona expressed that she loves when she gets to hear customers telling these stories as she acknowledges part of Commodore's uniqueness revolves around the age of the building. 

I, of course, felt I had to ask what her experience was like last summer, when the huge hits ‘Oppenheimer’ and ‘Barbie’ took to the screens.

Leona said how she wasn’t working at the cinema at the time but her mum was.

She said: “It was just unbelievable the amount of people that came to see the films.”

When asked what the impact of this was for Commodore Cinema she remarked: “It definitely made a positive impact, where they were such popular films.

"People who wouldn’t necessarily have been here before would come in and then from that chose to come back.” 

Margot Robbie, the lead actress in ‘Barbie’, when recently winning a Golden Globe for the film’s record breaking performance at the Box Office said: “I would like to dedicate this to every single person on the planet who dressed up and went to the greatest place on earth, the movie theatres."

This definitely sums up Leona’s attitude towards cinemas and it hopefully inspired particularly the younger generation to keep showing support towards them. 

As Leona is young herself, aged sixteen, I thought it would be interesting to get her opinion on the rise of streaming services and whether their impact is solely negative.

To this, Leona said: “It would make us a lot more money if they weren’t around but then I feel that there is good to them because you can watch them at home when having a chilled day, you can watch a series and you can download episodes to watch if you’re travelling, so I think there’s definitely a benefit to them but then you can’t beat going to the cinema.” 

My interview with Leona was truly so enjoyable, she expressed exactly why it is important to keep supporting cinemas, particularly small businesses like Commodore Cinema. She spoke fondly of her fellow staff, and really conveyed the sense of community the cinema brings to the town, mentioning how customers will often watch a film and then head for some dinner at one of the local fish and chip shops before venturing next door to the Bingo. Leona ended the interview expressing how she really hopes Commodore Cinema is here to stay for many years to come. 

Isle of Wight County Press: Ryde's Commodore CinemaRyde's Commodore Cinema (Image: Ruby Hendey)