Rio Cinema

107 Kingsland High Street,
London, E8 2PB

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Rio Cinema Dalston

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Located in the east London inner city district of Dalston. Built on the site of the Kingsland Palace of Animated Pictures. A great local cinema that originally opened in 1915 as the Kingsland Empire, designed by architects Percy C. Adams & George Coles of the architectural firm Adams & Coles, in a Neo-Classical style.

It was re-modeled in an Art Deco style by architect Frank Ernest Bromige in 1937 and became the Classic Cinema screening classic films. Later re-named Classic Cartoon Cinema for a while, it then reverted back to its Classic Cinema name. In the 1970’s it showing uncensored adult films as the Tatler Cinema Club. It was taken over by a co-operative of local people and re-opened as the Rio Cinema. In 1996, it was closed for 18 months for renovation & restoration, which were funded by the National Lottery.

It’s a real pleasure watching films all varied and relevant to Dalston and Hackney’s needs. The large amount of foreign films exhibited is excellent as they come with subtitles which helps when watching my weekly film with my one year old son and 20 or so other tots at the baby/parent screening.

In late-2016 a fundraiser began to raise money to convert the unused basement of the building into a second screen. It’s easy to find, up Kingsland High Street on the left opposite the Tesco local store.

The Rio Cinema is a community cinema, whose policy is decided by a Board of Directors consisting of local people elected each year. Programme requests are welcome.

The Rio Cinema is a Grade II Listed building.

Contributed by Tom Mo

Recent comments (view all 22 comments)

woody on May 16, 2009 at 6:05 am

night time photos may 2009, suddenly this area is mega trendy with the opening of the new bar and club next to the Rio called Dalston Superstore
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woody on June 15, 2010 at 1:55 am

a press ad from dec 1979 showing a week of rep booking, and a very 70’s Rio logo, some great titles in here:

Ian on September 25, 2010 at 1:51 am

Two photos of the Rio, taken in 1989 before the major renovation to the cinema in 1996:–

woody on February 15, 2011 at 2:53 pm

another press ad from march 1971 as the tatler showing lurid smutty double bills

Ian on August 23, 2011 at 12:44 am

A set of images from 2011 of this great cinema






Well worth seeing a film here!

William Mewes
William Mewes on February 9, 2012 at 3:40 pm

This is a screen capture from Series 3 Episode 2 of “Whitchapel”


HowardBHaas on April 5, 2012 at 5:01 pm

Yes, here in the States I’m watching now that Whitechapel episode. It also filmed in the theater’s back and in the interior, too, in the auditorium and stairway.

Woody_London on December 1, 2016 at 5:41 am

From the IDEAL KINEMA Feb 10 1938

The Classic, Kingsland Road, London, which was opened recently to be run on a repertory policy by C. Seeman of the Classic Baker St, is a reconstruction of the old Kingsland Empire. The whole interior was gutted leaving the walls and roof, a new circle installed, and new waiting spaces, foyer, operating box and plenum chamber constructed. The front was remodelled and was designed to give full play to the elaborate neon scheme designed by the architect. The neon scheme consists of the word “Classic” in in Kingsland High Road, the letters averaging 10 ft high, and on the corner a metal and glass sign projecting 6ft 6 inches from the wall and 33ft high illuminated by banks of neon tube. A new canopy with an illuminated facia completes the remodelling. The interior is decorated in a modern style with sweeping lines, and the colouring is in a grey-blue and warm brown, and the seating in a dark red, which is set off by red festoon tabs. Contracts Main contractors, Parker and Addison, Streatham, fibrous plaster and decorations and front elevation treatment, Campbell Bros, 28 Albert Embankment SE11, exterior sign, canopy and ornamental metal work, Garton and Thorne, 44 St Pauls Crescent Camden Town, heating and ventilation, London Radiator Heating Co Ltd, Brentford, electrical work Troughton and Young Ltd, 143 Knightsbridge SW1, fire appliances, Independent Sprinklers, Sardinia Street, London, seating, carpets and curtains, Pathe Equipment Ltd, sound apparatus, Western Electric, neon lighting, Borough Electric Signs Ltd, Ranelagh Road SW1.

popcorn_pete on January 28, 2017 at 8:16 pm

More info on the second screen here: There may even be a chance of a third one later on.

Woody_London on March 1, 2017 at 3:43 pm

The Rio Cinema Dalston making global news with its spoof prank on the La La Land/Moonlight Oscar fiasco

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