Don’t Let the Lights Go Out - #SaveTheUPP

by Ultimate Picture Palace in Oxford, England, United Kingdom

Total raised £57,730

raised so far



The Ultimate Picture Palace needs your help to survive the impact of COVID-19.

by Ultimate Picture Palace in Oxford, England, United Kingdom

We're still collecting donations

On the 20th July 2020 we'd raised £57,035 with 1303 supporters in 17 days. But as every pound matters, we're continuing to collect donations from supporters.

 New stretch target

The nature of the current crisis means that once we open our doors again we will be limited to selling tickets at 20-30% capacity. As a result, we will only be able to offer a limited weekly programme (4 days a week) to reduce costs while social distancing rules are in place. Current estimates say that these may have to be in place until January 2021. 

For every extra £4,000 raised, we will be able to schedule a month of screenings running 7-days-a-week. Not only will this allow our staff to return to our full contracted hours, but it will also give us the very best chance of getting back on our feet. 


We would be delighted if you would consider donating to our Crowdfunder if you haven't already, as we will be closed for the next two months and we want to ensure that the cinema re-opens on the best possible footing. 

We have put on the back-burner many little upgrades to the cinema this year, and your continued support will allow us to make these developments. These include replacing the damaged Box Office poster frame with a classic cinema marquee and updating our website to make it more user friendly. 

Thank you so much for all of your support and kind words. Lots of love from Micaela, Tom, James, Hog, Ash, Josh, Kira and the team of UPP volunteers.

The Ultimate Picture Palace, Oxford's only independent cinema, is facing one of the biggest challenges in its 109-year history and we need your help. Due to COVID-19, our doors are currently closed and our exciting plans to become a community-owned business are on hold. We are planning to re-open in September, but without your help right now the cinema will run out of money by the end of October.



Since closing our doors on 16th March due to the coronavirus pandemic, ticket and bar sales which make up the majority of our income stopped overnight. However, we still have outgoings, with overheads while closed currently being £9,000 a month, for example rent, staff costs, and other essential service contracts.

The Government recently announced that cinemas in England can open from 4th July. Like many other independent cinemas, whose margins are tighter than multiplexes, we have decided to re-open in September. When we re-open, we will be operating with a reduced capacity of 20-30%, due to social distancing regulations. In addition to this, results from a recent audience survey confirmed that a sizable number of our customers (41%) only foresee returning to the cinema from September onward. Therefore, with a reduced capacity and fewer customers, it is not financially viable for the cinema’s public programme to re-open until the autumn. 

By September the UPP will have been closed for nearly 6 months. We simply don’t have enough money to see us through such a long period of time with no sales. If we were to take out a bank loan, repaying this would put our future plans for community ownership at severe risk.

Recently the BFI recognised the immense value of The Ultimate Picture Palace to the national independent cinema sector and granted us £12,683 from their Covid-19 Resilience Fund. We have also been given a £10,000 small business grant from the government, but we still need your help to meet our shortfall.



We need a minimum of £18,000 to ensure that we can survive this crisis and allow us to open again this September.

Instead of us relying solely on charitable donations, we’re inviting you to buy limited-edition merchandise designed by local artists as well as one-off special UPP experiences. This will give us the cash flow we need to survive the next few months. 

By purchasing one of our rewards, however big or small, you will be:

  • Getting Oxford's only independent cinema open again this autumn. 
  • Helping Cowley Road retain its identity as a thriving hub for independent businesses. 
  • Protecting the jobs, livelihoods and wellbeing of the 9 members of staff and 20 volunteers who run the cinema. 
  • Giving The Ultimate Picture Palace the best possible chance of successfully becoming a community-owned business next year.


If we don’t reach our target, then the UPP’s future is in jeopardy. Without additional funds, we will run out of money by the end of October. After that? The prospect of closing the business for good will be a very real one, and Oxford will no longer have an independent cinema to call its own.

Help us now and save Oxford’s home of independent cinema.



UPP Badge Set


Limited Edition UPP Mug


Limited Edition UPP Tea-Towel (image coming soon)

Limited Edition A3 Screen-print



This project offered rewards

£1,000 or more

UPP Golden Ticket 2021

The ultimate reward for film lovers! We'll send you a special golden UPP ticket which will allow you (and a guest) FREE entry to any and every public screening during 2021. We'll also include the limited edition A3 poster print by NOPE Design Studio, tea-towel, mug, and badge set.

£10 or more

£10 Donation

Simply want to send us A Fistful Of Dollars? You can donate the price of a ticket here.

£20 or more

£20 Donation

Think you can spare A Few Dollars More? Then why not gift us the cost of two full-price tickets.

£50 or more

£50 Donation

Let's not make it a Brief Encounter. Help us stay open for a long time with a £50 donation (or the equivalent price of two UPP Memberships).

£100 or more

£100 Donation

The Academy Award goes! Thank you so much for donating £100 (or more) to our #SaveTheUPP campaign. It really means a lot to us.

£5 or more

UPP Badge Pack

Show the world that you love your local indie cinema by decorating your coats and bags with these three lovely pin badges.

£15 or more

Limited Edition UPP Mug (plus a free cup of tea!)

We love cosying down in our auditorium with a proper mug of tea. Get yourself one of these limited edition UPP mugs and your first cuppa when we re-open will be on us!

£25 or more

Limited Edition UPP Tea Towel & Mug

Drying the dishes isn't cinematic enough for you these days? Why not get a limited edition UPP tea towel! We'll also include one of our limited edition mugs.

£35 or more

Limited Edition A3 Poster

Treat yourself to a gorgeous limited edition A3 screenprint of the UPP's beautiful Grade-II Listed building. Designed by East Oxford-based independent designers NOPE Print Studio and hand-printed in vibrant Art Deco-inspired colours, reflecting the history of the building.

£55 or more

UPP Super Fan Bundle

Wow! You must really love us! Let us reciprocate that love by sending you all the merch: A3 limited edition print, tea-towel, UPP mug, and badge set.

£250 or more

Special Discounted Summertime Hire

Want to gather your family and friends together for an exclusive cinema experience? Part of a film society and fancy watching your favourite film as a group? Pledge £250 and the cinema is yours (and up to 20 people) for an afternoon or evening this August and September.

£600 or more

Christmas Classic Private Hire for your Company

Treat your employees/colleagues to a private screening of a Christmas Classic this December. Chip in as an organisation and book. Max. 35 people.

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