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New-look National Film Theatre to open mid-March

The long-awaited revamp of the National Film Theatre - under the new name BFI Southbank - will open on 14 March, the British Film Institute has confirmed.

The new Theatre Avenue entrance
The new Theatre Avenue entrance
Inside BFI Southbank
Inside BFI Southbank

When the revamp was first announced it was hoped that it would be ready in time for last year's London Film Festival. Then in October BFI bosses named 1 February as the big day. Now the date is set for Wednesday 14 March.

BFI Southbank makes use of the space under Waterloo Bridge that has lain empty since the Museum of the Moving Image closed in 1999.

A new entrance to BFI Southbank has been created on Theatre Avenue – the boulevard linking Upper Ground and the river between the National Theatre and Waterloo Bridge.

In addition to the existing three cinemas the complex will include the Mediatheque, offering free on-demand access to over 300 film and television titles from the BFI National Archive.

The new BFI Gallery will showcase artists' work with moving image, opening with an exhibition from the New York-based pioneers of media art, Jennifer & Kevin McCoy entitled Tiny, Funny, Big and Sad.

A studio cinema provides an intimate space where visitors can discover something unexpected ranging from archive and contemporary film, video and television, talks and presentations plus community and education events

For several years the NFT has lacked a shop; now the Filmstore will offer more than 2,000 book titles and 1,000 DVDs.

The 4.5 million overhaul has been described a "stepping-stone" to the BFI's long-term plan for a major new Film Centre in London.

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