GET your popcorn at the ready because a cinema is finally coming to Abingdon, though only on a temporary basis.

The Friends of Abingdon have announced that they have been working with an independent cinema to screen films in the Unicorn Theatre this winter.

It comes after a cinema plan for the Abbey House extension of the Guildhall was scrapped by the town council in January when it was decided the scheme was financially unviable.

Determined to provide the town with a place to watch the latest releases, the civic society got in touch with The Regal Evesham, an art-deco style cinema which has just celebrated its 85th birthday, about using the historic Abbey Building's theatre for screenings.

Bryan Brown, chairman of The Friends of Abingdon, said: “We are very pleased to welcome this new initiative which will provide a much-needed enhancement to leisure facilities in Abingdon-on-Thames as well as helping us to preserve the very special Abbey Buildings for enjoyment and use by the community.”

At a recent meeting with neighbours of the Unicorn Theatre, plans were discussed which include screenings of new film releases starting from next month, subject to the necessary permissions.

Currently the town's film lovers must travel to Oxford or Didcot if they want to catch the latest releases.

The theatre has just 92 seats, providing an intimate space with excellent acoustics. The screenings will be in addition to the normal drama productions and concerts in the Unicorn and will provide a boost for the Abbey Buildings’ funding during the winter season months when it is traditionally quiet.

Ian Wiper, managing director of the Regal, said: “We are delighted to be working with the Friends to bring much needed cinema facilities to the town. It is our hope that eventually we will find a suitable permanent home in Abingdon. In the meantime, we look forward to a successful first season in these wonderful historic buildings”.