The Manager of Canal Olympia- ‘Mararaba Cinema,’ Aminu Yahaya, said location has been a major challenge confronting the cinema in its operation.
Yahaya, who said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Mararaba Nasarawa State, expressed concern about the low patronage recorded always by the cinema.
He attributed the low patronage to the peculiarity of the people in the area, noting that entertainment of such nature seems foreign to the residents
“A cinema entertainment of this nature is alien to the people of Mararaba as they are used to clubs, joints, and beer palours.
“The cinema culture is new to them, they are used to where they eat and drink. We are taking out our time to understand the environment so that we reach out to the people effectively,” he said.
He said that communication was another challenge, noting that the cinema is owned by a French company.
“Their values and ethics are different from ours, you need to listen to them up to five times before you can get things right,” he said.
The manager said that in spite of these challenges, he was still impressed by the level of patronage, stressing that the patronage was a bit fair.
He said the cinema would soon embark on extensive publicity to create awareness, adding that this would improve the number of people coming to watch films.
“We plan to do this on monthly basis to cover every angle of this location.
“We are working seriously to change the name from Canal Olympia to `Cinema’ so that people will get to know about us,” he said.
He said due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the company now used half capacity of 150 to ensure adequate social distancing, adding that measures such as wearing of a mask, sanitising of hands strictly adhered to.
Meanwhile, some residents of Mararaba told NAN that they found it difficult to acknowledge the fact that Canal Olympia is a ‘cinema’ because there is no signage to that effect.
They said the Canal Olympia meant nothing to them in the area because they thought it was a showroom or something else.
Andrew Emeka, a businessman, said that Canal Olympia seemed to him like a showroom because one could hardly think that it was a cinema because of the name.
“I have passed there several times but to be frank with you, I never knew it is a cinema.
“There is nothing one can use to identify it as a cinema place, the signpost does not depict such,” he said.
Another resident, Cletus Angkowa, was of the opinion that the management of Canal Olympia should do `the needful’ for people to know that the place is a cinema .
According to him, many people do not know that the place is a cinema but when awareness is created, movie lovers will patronise them.
“I am aware that a new cinema was opened in Mararaba, but you do not expect me to go to such place because of movies when I can download the movies by myself,” he said.
Angel William said the cost of ticket was high considering the caliber of people living in that locality.
She urged the management to look into it, stressing that Mararaba residents would find it difficult to visit the place constantly with the price of N1,000 per ticket while that of the premiere is N2,000 respectively.
“I have been there myself, it is a nice place. The only thing that will discourage people is the cost of tickets especially this time where people are striving to survive.
“Reduction of the ticket price and publicity will bring a massive turnout based on the fact that Mararaba is a populated area,” she said.
NAN reports that Canal Olympia is the first eco-friendly theatre in Nasarawa State.
The cinema has a stage performance, open space that could take five thousand capacities when there is a show outside.
It is also said to be the first in Nigeria and in West Africa with 300 capacity seaters.
The theatre shows Nigeria and African movies as well as international production released worldwide.
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