Futurist Buildings, Foreshore Road,
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A vast cinema on the seafront, catering to both residents and tourists, this is the largest cinema in the U.K. still showing films, although live shows are also part of the programming these days.
It opened 27 June 1921 to the designs of Frank Tugwell and was exclusively a cinema until 1958 when a stage was added (and the Abbott & Smith 3Manual organ removed) and during the summer season a live show was presented.
Further more radical alterations took place in 1968 when the fine Italian facade in white faiance tiles was panelled in (most survives underneath) and the stage greatly extended over the adjoining site (which used to house the Palladium Cinema).
Now has a barn like interior with the balcony supported on 12 slender columns with 6 large boxes above and behind the balcony. The balcony front is lyre shaped and returned to the proscenium wall.
The ceiling is divided into 2 parts. The front section is original with an eliptical dome containing 3 ornamental ventilation grilles and having concealed lighting around the rim. Three ornamental corbels each side ‘support’ the ceiling.
The rear section is higher and plain dating from the time the auditorium was extended in 1968. The proscenium arch is not original, is rectangular and rather plain.
The Futurist Theatre now presents a summer season of live shows, with big name concerts during the rest of the year.
When there is no live entertainment then films are screened (most of the Sept-June period) although the theatre is never remotely full for a film!
The future of the Futurist is largely in doubt and the theater will likely be closed and demolished in the near future.
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