Jurassic Park revisited: How Steven Spielberg helped save Carmarthenshire cinema from closure | UK News

Jul 16, 2023 | Uncategorized

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It’s 30 years since Hollywood director Steven Spielberg helped save a “diamond in the desert” cinema from closure.

Jurassic Park had its UK premier on 16 July 1993, a joint premier with screenings in London and at a small cinema in Carmarthenshire, West Wales.

Elizabeth Evans, the leader of a youth theatre in Carmarthen, had launched a campaign to save the Lyric cinema from closure and had secured a screening of the film.

The distribution company later reportedly went back on their word so the the mayor of Carmarthen at the time, Richard Goodridge, stepped in to help with a fax to the film’s director, Steven Spielberg.

Elizabeth Evans and Richard Goodridge at the Lyric Cinema ahead of the premier of Jurassic Park
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Elizabeth Evans and Richard Goodridge pictured in a newspaper article about the Lyric cinema screening of Jurassic Park

“I happened to be in the right place at the right time and I contacted Steven Spielberg through my office in the town and asked if something could be done and as the news will tell you, it was a success that, through his office or through his secretary, they allowed a copy of the film to be shown,” Mr Goodridge told Sky News.

“And I suspect because of the adverse publicity that was going to be given to the distribution company that they probably thought it would be best to allow them to show it on the opening night, the same time as it was in Leicester Square.”

Mr Goodridge was played by Harry Potter star Tom Felton in the 2022 Sky Cinema film, Save The Cinema, which was loosely based on events.

It was only recently Mr Goodridge found out that the Lyric had in fact been the first cinema in the UK to screen the film after Ms Evans put the clocks forward by around 10 minutes.

Mr Goodridge said the Lyric – now a theatre – had become a facility for “so many youngsters, under-privileged youngsters, that were looking for an outlet for their talents”.

“It’s been a huge success for thousands of youngsters that have come through that theatre for the last 30 years and they’ve gone on to great things,” he said.

“Some have become very well-known actors and actresses and that type of thing, and without Steven Spielberg’s contribution none of that would have happened.”

A letter to Steven Spielberg from Richard Goodridge dated 30 June, 1993
Image:
A letter to Steven Spielberg from Richard Goodridge dated 30 June, 1993

According to Mr Goodridge, credit must go to Ms Evans and her husband David who spent many years working hard to secure the future of the Lyric.

“Although it was a brief spell for me of 12 months in that role and I was able to contribute to the saving of the building, credit must be given to both Liz and Dave who spent a lifetime, not just a year as I did,” he said.

Spielberg makes a dinosaur gesture at the premier of Jurassic Park in 1993
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Spielberg at the premier of Jurassic Park in 1993

“So a great many people owe their careers and their fortunes to Liz and Dave, and I’d like to think that as time goes on, while I had a contribution, it is to their memory that the success of this event should be drawn to.”

Read more from Sky News:
Wales lacks ‘coherent brand’ to attract overseas visitors
‘Dumbfounded’ Johnny Depp visits Dylan Thomas’ birthplace

To celebrate the anniversary, a special screening of Jurassic Park will take place at the Lyric on Sunday afternoon, followed by three screenings of Save The Cinema over three consecutive nights.

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