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A vast cinema on the seafront, catering to both residents and tourists. In January 2014 when it was closed, this was the largest single screen cinema in the U.K. still showing films, although live shows were also part of the programming.
It opened 27th 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 style facade in white faiance tiles was covered with plain panels (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 presented summer seasons of live shows, with big name concerts during the rest of the year.
When there was no live entertainment then films were screened (most of the Sept-June period) although the theatre was never remotely full to capacity for a film!
The future of the Futurist Theatre was largely in doubt for several years, and the theatre was closed by Scarborough Borough Council on 5th January 2014 with “Hobbit II – The Desolation of Smaug”. There were determind efforts to obtain a listed status which were supported by townspeople, the Theatres Trust and the Cinema Theatre Association, but listing was denied. Stripping out of the building began in March 2012 and when completed demolition will begin. As the Futurist Theatre is built into the side of solid rock, it will take longer to demolish as the rock has to be secured to prevent collapse. We wouldn’t want Scarborough Borough Council offices built on top of the rock to collapse, now would we!
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