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“my question is, “back in the day,” was the average cinema-goer enthused by cinema interiors” …
Difficult to quantify but I suspect yes to a certain extent. The “roadshow” films had reserved seats, souvenir brochures, and an atmosphere more akin to theatre than cinema. And the way films were distributed through the circuits and regions made the venue more special. There was also very much a heirachy of flea pit through to posh cinemas – and a circle seat at a Palace was the place to be. I (and friends) certainly travelled some distances to get to a good cinema (Embassy Chesham).
But stark truth is – aren’t we just the dying act of the dinosaurs here (myself definitely included)?
I have been a member of the CTA (UK Cinema group)for 4 decades. There are still people there that I met on my first visits, but far fewer new members. The age of the stalls and circle cinema with even one set of screen tabs is largely over. It is great that there are still people who remember the style and glamour of the past – but that is what it is – the past. I try to capture it where I find it (Carlton Westgate take a bow) but I struggle to find the enthusiasm to photograph the average (and they are all average) multi-plex. I wish I had known of the future decimation of the Odeons and ABC’s back in the 1970’s – I would have tried much much harder to record them.
Looking into the future does anyone think there will be a multi-plex appreciation society? I don’t know if the blandness is consumer led or whether it is all todays cinema-goers know and expect, and I deplore the decline in presentation standards exacerbated by digital. At a live screening at the Reel in Grantham recently I had to go find someone to turn the house lights off after the interval, at the SJT in Scarborough last week it was full minute (there was a helpful on-screen clock) before anyone turned on the house lights after act 1 of Hangmen. It is all automated (badly) and showmanship has exited via the fire-escape ladder!
Some photos of the revamped Empire taken in 2016:–
IMPACT SCREEN FROM BALCONY
IMPACT SCREEN TO REAR
Some January 2016 shots of the gloriously restored Dome here:–
BOXES AT REAR
AUDITORIUM TO SCREEN
AUDITORIUM TO REAR
Still showing films in this 1971 photo:–
I am not sure if this cinema was ever called the Dovecot. There was a Dovecot Arts Centre, including cinema, which took its name from Dovecot Street, and was located next to the Hippodrome / Cannon, and it is this operation which transferred to the ARC which opened on the site of the Cannon & Dovecot in 1998.
Now in use as a gym, with the Empire name returned. Interior seems to have been stripped of all traces of past use. Photo from December 2015.
Auditorium of the Rep in use as a pub from 2006:–
AUDITORIUM TO STAGE
A 2005 photo – looking newly spruced-up:–
A photo from 1997
Former Lounge Cinema in 2007 – I am led to believe that the auditorium is still intact, but have not been able to verify this.
A photo as Munroes from 1989:–
Running well in 2015 with the first pantomime in many years on the stage, and regular films and live streamings on the screen (usually just for one night).
Photos from November 2015:–
AUDITORIUM FROM REAR BALCONY
AUDITORIUM FROM STAGE
Night time shot in November 2015
Apparently still standing in 1984, but now demolished.
Photo from 2008 here:–
Exterior photo from 1996 here:–
Photo from June 2014
Photos from June 2014
AUDITORIUM AND BALCONY
AUDITORIUM, BOX, AND STAGE
The building is currently closed having finished as the Aura nightclub – planning permission for flats recently refused (mainly demolition), local desire to return it to arts use.
Photos from October 2015
DORIC STAGE EXTERIOR
Photos from 2010 here:–
The Regent Bingo Club was taken over by Majestic Bingo Ltd around two years ago, and who plans to restore the building. Photos taken September 2015 here:–
REGENT ART DECO WINDOW
REGENT BINGO – STALLS TO STAGE
REGENT BINGO PROSCENIUM TOP
REGENT BINGO – BALCONY
Another view from 1977 here:–
Photos from 2015 here:–
CENTRAL CINEMA – FORMER STAGE
Photo from 2015 here:–
FORMER KINGS PICTURE HALL