Southwold Electric Picture Palace

1 Barnaby Green,
Southwold, IP18 6AP

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Southwold Electric Picture Palace

Opened in May 2002 by broadcaster and Monty Python star Michael Palin, it is a conversion of a cart shed and hayloft. The Southwold Electric Picture Palace is an absolute jewel of a community cinema in the idyllic English seaside town of Southwold on Sea on the Suffolk Coast.

Visiting for a brief mid-week holiday, I was aware of the cinema from the website but had no idea it would be such a treat until I saw the programme posted in the town square – over the summer season – a great range of pictures including “Godfather 1” and “Godfather 2”, a French classic “La Grande Vadrouille” and on my night Gerard Depardieu and Daniel Auteuil in “Le Placard” (The Closet).

The cinema is wedged into a tiny residential street and has been built to match the town’s original cinema (the now demolished 550 seat Cinema, York Road, which operated from 1921 and closed as the Ritz Cinema in 1963). The team that welcomes you is all dressed to the nines – and you get a short film (on the night an old Claude Lelouch short “Rendezvous”), a feature, an intermission with live organist and film quiz and ‘God Save the Queen’ (National Anthem) at the end…

The cinema itself is gorgeously appointed in red velvet, with period sconces and is a real tribute to the love of moviegoing…I was proud to have scooped up the last two seats on the night

Contributed by Seth Lewis

Recent comments (view all 1 comments)

DavidSimpson on November 29, 2015 at 12:47 am

As Seth says, this is a remarkable small town cinema, run with much loving care by a team of dedicated volunteers.

I was fortunate to visit Southwold on a number of occasions before the work began and during the cinema’s construction. Seeing the original cart shed it’s hard imagine how it could be transformed into such a splendid cinema. In May 2002, only a short while after the cinema opened, I was privileged to arrange a visit by The Cinema Theatre Association, so members could inspect this amazing cinema.

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