The Board of Directors of the Regent Centre in Christchurch are pleased to announce the appointment of a new Manager, Greg Rawlings, who has grown up in the area and now lives in Ensbury Park.
Greg Rawlings comes from the LifeCentre in Winton near Bournemouth, where he oversaw the conversion of the former Moderne cinema into a multi-purpose conference centre. The Moderne, much like the Regent, was built in the 1930s as a 1,500 seater Super Cinema. It closed in the 1980s and again, just like the Regent, became a Bingo Hall. Today it is the LifeCentre multi-purpose conference centre and is an object lesson in architectural restoration with much of its white stucco interior and exterior designed to reflect its original glory days as an Art Deco palace of the silver screen. The project is an award worthy tribute to Greg and the team at the LifeCentre.
Greg brings his considerable experience of project management to the Regent at just the right time, when the Centre is undergoing a rolling programme of improvements to the building.
In December the Regent re-integrated the Christchurch Information Centre next door as its new Box Office. There are plans to convert the flat above the CIC into new offices. This will free-up the existing office at the top of the foyer, so that the ladies’ and gentlemen’s toilets can be enlarged and re-decorated. The foyer itself will shortly become home to a permanent bar facility and this will mean a complete re-decoration of the foyer in Art Deco style to reflect the Regent’s 1930s’ heritage. Meanwhile the auditorium has already had a new lighting booth installed and a new sound booth is near completion. This will allow the installation of extra seats in the circle in place of the old light and sound desks, bringing the Regent’s capacity up to 480 seats.
There are even more improvements in the pipeline and the new manager will lead the modernisation, whilst protecting the Regent’s historical and architectural integrity without losing that unique retro atmosphere.
Whilst at the LifeCentre, Greg also developed the event and marketing strategy to ensure revenue streams including concerts, theatre, conferences, shows, exhibitions, film nights and weddings. He also has over 30 years experience in the sales, marketing and customer service industry.
Greg says, “I cannot wait to get involved at the Regent Centre, which is such a wonderful gem in the community of Christchurch and a vital part of the cultural scene in the wider area. I have always had a passion for the theatre, musicals, concerts and films, so to be given the opportunity to be part of its success is like a dream job for me.”
Greg’s predecessor as the Regent Manager, Eliot Walker, is leaving to manage the Citygate conference centre in Bournemouth. Eliot leaves the Regent with a proud record of achievement, notably the introduction of digital cinema and satellite broadcasts of international arts events from around the world, including the Metropolitan Opera in New York and Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow. Eliot has been associated with the Regent, first as a volunteer from the tender age of 11 and latterly as the manager.