A revamp which will include digital facilities for showing a wider array of movies has got underway at The Poly in Falmouth.

Following a successful fundraising campaign which included patrons of the arts centre “sponsoring a seat” in the theatre with a brass plaque, work has started on the first phase of renovation at the Grade II* listed building.

The first round of work, which will cost an estimated £55,000, includes installing new projection equipment to allow the screening of modern films, many of which only come in digital format, and a new electronic screen to allow quick changes from cinema to theatre.

Lesley Robinson, general manager, said the fundraising had gone “amazingly well.”

“Lots of people sponsored auditorium seats, lots have given donations, and we had a couple of fundraising events.”

She added: “We thought it would take a lot longer than this so we are delighted.

“People have been really supportive.

“I talked to a couple of people who stopped coming in because of the poor sound and picture quality, but will be coming back in now they know it’s all going to be tip top.”

The organisation raised £3,000 with a Beatles night featuring the film A Hard Day’s Night, and a cover band playing |hits by the Fab Four.

It also received several grants, including one from the Heritage Trust to carry out important work to restore the outside of the building.

Staff have been hard at work preparing for the arrival of the new system, which will arrive for installation on Monday, and have also been replastering a wall which was suffering from damp and repainting the inside of the auditorium.

They are hoping to celebrate their reopening with a screening of the experimental film Birdman, as well as a collaboration with Falmouth School students to bring cinema to local primary school children, and special movie experience evenings with cabaret group Scary Little Girls called “Salon du Cinema”.

Lesley added: “With added equipment there are added costs so we really need people to come in and see the films. Lots of people are coming back to The Poly that may have drifted away while we were closed.

“It’s a much more happening and positive place to be, we’re delighted.”