An independent Reading cinema has announced it will close after 50 years of screenings due to Covid-19.

Audiences have not returned to Reading Film Theatre at the same levels they did before the pandemic.

The cinema also faced “major” costs due to “significant IT issues” with their projection equipment as a consequence of being unable to carry out routine maintenance during lockdowns.

A statement on their website read: “With great regret and sadness, the decision has been taken to bring to an end 50 years of ground-breaking independent and foreign language cinema at RFT.

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“This step has not been taken lightly, but with the heaviest of hearts.

“We would like to thank all our wonderful audiences, past and present, for being part of such an exciting journey across half a century of great nights at RFT.”

Reading Film Theatre closed in March 2020 and turned to online screenings during pandemic lockdowns.

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They reopened in September but adult character-driven film genres have only reached 30 per cent of pre-Covid levels, according to the cinema.

Their final film showing, Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch, will be December 9.

On December 2, the cinema will be showing Cinema Paradiso to celebrate its 50 year history.