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The Little has recently launched a fundraising campaign “Love the Little” for essential building repairs and improvements (better wheelchair access, adding a small bar/social space, etc). The campaign was launched with a showing of vintage British comedy “The Smallest Show On Earth” followed by a Q&A session with stars Virginia McKenna and Leslie Phillips.
The UPP is a true gem, run and owned as a labour of love by a man who used to go to the PPP as a child and fell in love with it, only to get a chance to buy it later in life. The programming is very very mixed – if you want to see it, and if the owner thinks others will, he’ll get the print in for a few days run! Forget modern conveniences and concession bars, this is old-style cinemagoing and a must for cinephiles visiting Oxford (it’s a 10-minute walk South from Magdalen College – over the roundabout (take the middle fork ‘Cowley Road’), on your left.
The Little Theatre was originally planned as a dual purpose theatre and newsreel cinema, however the placement of the projectors means the beams may be cut by people standing on the balcony – the main reason the balcony is used mostly for overflow seating for popular events (although with a polite request it may be available for regular screenings too!). The second, smaller screen used to be the flats and scenery store for the stage below – it was converted to a second screen with the dwindling use of the stage for plays (although occasional events still te advantage of the stage in screen 1).
The land beneath the cinema is (as with much of Bath) vaulted catacombs, although there is no convenient access from the cinema as it has been built over (whether by the screen 1 seating or the stage is debated).
Bath’s oldest usher ‘Michael Ball’ had worked in cinemas in Bath for 50 years of his life. ‘The Little’ (as it is locally known) was his last employer, Michael passed away in the same year as the cinema installed a digital HD projector to run alongside the 35mm projector – 2007.