Maltings new maestro unveils big plans

Matthew Rooke at The Maltings
Matthew Rooke at The Maltings
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BROADCASTING major events such as football matches and the Olympic Games on the big screen is among a host of grand plans revealed by the new chief executive of the Maltings complex in Berwick, writes Simon Duke.

Matthew Rooke, who hails from Gavinton, also says he has ambitions to produce a show at the Maltings which can tour round the UK.

Taking over the reins from Miles Gregory, Rooke started his new job on New Year’s day and is excited about the challenges that lie ahead.

He told us: “I want to secure the resources to completely transfer to digital cinema. This should allow us to secure big new cinema releases quicker so we can take advantage of all the buzz surrounding the films and people won’t have to think about going to Newcastle, Edinburgh or Galashiels, or wait a few months.

“Our full name is The Maltings Theatre & Cinema and I want the cinema to be a focal part – not just something that is tagged on at the end.

“Having digital technology will also allow us to broadcast things, such as Olympic opening ceremonies, big football matches and broadcasts of operas and musical tours.

“I want to build up the cinema side of things so that The Maltings becomes potentially better than a multiplex and without the worry of having to fork out lots of money for tickets and snacks.”

Rooke has plans to redevelop the basement studio as rehearsal space and a venue for music, and one of his biggest aims is to produce something at The Maltings which can be toured right around the UK.

He enthused: “There’s no reason why we couldn’t put a little beacon up here in Berwick for musical theatre and take our shows nationwide.”