Queen's Cinerama Theatre
Newcastle upon Tyne,
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The Queen’s Hall opened on 9th September 1913. Although it was a large building, it had a rather plain facade facing onto the narrow Northumberland Place, with a small entrance to the extreme left of the building which accessed the mid-stalls. There were two other entrances, one on Northumberland Street which accessed the best seats in the stalls and circle and another on Lisle Street which accessed the front stalls.
The building was designed by Newcastle architects Marshall & Tweedy and there were 1,047 seats in the stalls and 366 in the small circle. There were also six private boxes at circle level along each of the two side walls. There was a square proscenium arch and rounded barrel ceiling. Initially an independent cinema, it was taken over by George Black in March 1920 and a Vincent 3Manual 29Ranks straight organ was installed.
In 1928, George Black sold the Queen’s Hall to General Theatres Corporation and it was closed for four weeks during July and August 1928 for redecoration. It was soon under the operations of Gaumont British Theatres when they took over General Theatre Corporation, and it became the premier Gaumont operated theatre in the city.
In 1957, the organ was sold and removed from the cinema and a new wide screen was erected in front of the old proscenium opening. The Queen’s Hall began screening Roadshow films. First came "Around the World in 80 Days" which ran for 3 months. "The Ten Commandments" ran for 4 months in May to August 1958. The cinema was then equipped to screen Todd-AO and it opened with "South Pacific" which ran for 81 weeks from September 1958. The Queen’s Hall was closed on 15th June 1963, to be converted into a Cinerama Theatre. The building was totally gutted and a new roof installed. Seating was reduced to 972 (613 stalls and 359 circle) in the new luxury cinema, which had drapes on the wall and a huge curved screen.
The Queen’s Cinerama Theatre opened on 9th November 1963 with "How the West Was Won", projected via a 3-projector system. From 23rd May 1964 "Cinerama Holiday" played and this was followed by "The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm". The cinema then went on to screen films in 70mm Cinerama on a single projector "Its A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, which was followed by a 140 weeks run of “The Sound of Music” from 18th April 1965.
The Queen’s Cinerama Theatre closed on 16th February 1980 with Jack Nicholson in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”. It remained empty and unused and was demolished in February 1983. A shopping centre was built on the site, which was unsuccessful and it is now converted into gambling areas and restaurants.
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