The Actor’s Studio, the iconic art house cinema in the very centre of Brussels, has closed its doors for the last time. Last evening’s final séance saw the end to almost 30 years of quirky, unusual and unique cinema programmes in the capital. The cinema, in a gallery off the touristy Petite Rues des Bouchers, had only 220 seats, but had a reputation for showing art films from around the world, as well as oldies and special seasons built around a theme.
In later years, however, the cinema experienced financial difficulties even a devoted audience could not remedy. Dwindling subsidies in the cultural sector, diminishing ticket sales, the changing character of the city centre and even the works surrounding the pedestrian zone were all in part responsible for the cinema’s failing fortunes, said Claude Diouri, the cinema’s director.
The recent warm weather made matters worse, he said, with an average of only 2.5 tickets sold for each showing.
Frédéric Cornet, director of the nearby Cinéma Galeries, lamented the loss of Actor’s Studio, but sounded a more positive note. “The main question to ask ourselves,” he told the RTBF, is how to sustain the cinemas’ activities without allowing closures. We’re taking now about Actor’s Studio, but if there were to be another closure, that would be a real problem for the cinema world in Brussels. I think there should be more cinemas in Brussels. There are no longer any in communes like Forest, Schaerbeek or Ever, to name but three. There’s nothing close to the universities, although there’s a potential public. We have to give people the opportunity to go to the cinema.”