The owner of Newtown's town centre cinema who was a finalist for Wales' best cinema experience award says the support from locals has been "absolutely fantastic" since taking over the family business in 2019.

David Thacker quit his career in hospitality just before the coronavirus pandemic to run The Regent Cinema after sadly losing his dad Richard to a brain tumour.

"I couldn’t let his hard work go to waste," David said.

"If we closed that day this place would have been a gym right now and I couldn’t see that happening. We used to run the Welshpool cinema as well and we saw the impact that had on Welshpool and still has today. I couldn’t see that happening again."


County Times: David ThackerDavid Thacker (Image: Anwen Parry/Powys County Times)

Four years later, the cinema, which has kept its independent charm, is a 2023 Welsh Hospitality Award finalist which David said was a "massive shock and surprise" to be nominated for the first time.

“The response has been absolutely fantastic," he said. 

County Times:

"Since covid we thought the days of cinema were numbered and everything will be streaming and we’d better close. But the people have really responded with their feet which is great.

"We had one person bring a whole chocolate gateau sitting there with a spoon. I couldn’t believe it. You should see some of the things people sneak in, it’s mad.

"Taking over the cinema was brave and stupid at the time, but I have no regrets whatsoever. During covid and there were a lot sweat and tears, but it’s all been worth it seeing the impact it’s had on people. Just being here is great to give them that bit of escape.

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“We feel thankful to our customers and to the one person that would turn up every night during Covid because that’s why I’m still here. I’d be here and open six hours a day and I would have one customer, but that one customer kept me going. They know who they are, and they literally kept me going every night.

“The staff that I have here are absolutely fantastic. They’re a credit for their own abilities and this award nomination is really for them. 

"What I really want people to do is come here and love it and tell their friends about it.

“It’s still going on strong and I’ll still be here until the last penny leaves my bank account. We’ll always keep this going as much as I can.”