Radway Cinema

Radway Place,
Sidmouth, EX10 8TS

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Interior, Balcony, July 2012

The Radway Theatre opened as a live theatre on 25th June 1928. It was designed by local architect P.E. Steadman. Seating was provided for 680; there were 520 seats in the stalls and 160 seats in the circle. The proscenium was 27 feet wide and the stage was 22 feet deep, with four dressing rooms. The auditorium ceiling is made of patterned pressed tin, an unusual material to use in the UK, especially in a cinema.

Soon after opening, talking pictures arrived and the theatre was converted into a full time cinema, to the plans of noted cinema architect William Henry Watkins. Little alteration was done to the auditorium, it was mainly the foyer area alterations and provision of a projection suite that he was responsible for. It re-opened as the Radway Cinema on 2nd December 1929 with Estelle Brody in "Kitty".

In the 1950’s a wider 41 feet proscenium was installed and the seating capacity was reduded to 365. The cinema was closed in 1984 for modernisation and re-opened 17th August 1985 with "A Passage to India" under the current operator. Closed for further improvement in March 2000, the cinema currently seats 270.

Contributed by Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 3 comments)

Ian on September 12, 2008 at 9:00 am

Two further pictures from around 30 years ago here:–

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PhilipWW on April 5, 2018 at 10:21 am

I have not been but the screen size at 41' sounds very impressive.

Some of these old cinemas with wide prosceniums can have very impressive Scope screens, often larger than that on offer from many modern multiplexes.

Mike_Blakemore on April 30, 2018 at 11:16 am

This cinema was ran for a number of years by The Mike Jervis Circuit based at West Bromwich

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