New Coliseum Cinema

248 Whitley Road,
Whitley Bay, NE26 2TE

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Coliseum Cinema

Located in the centre of Whitley Bay, Tyne & Wear. The Coliseum Theatre was opened in May 1910. It was extensively altered in 1919 when it was converted for cinema use, reopening as the New Coliseum Cinema. It was taken over by the Associated British Cinemas(ABC) chain on 23rd December 1929 and they made further alterations to the building.

It was briefly taken over by an independent operator from 22nd November 1970, until it finally closed as a cinema on 1st May 1971. It became an independent bingo club.

Plans were passed in 2004 for the auditorium to be demolished, and offices and a library were built on the site. The facade and front of the building was retained and is in retail use.

Contributed by Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 8 comments)

Ian on May 7, 2012 at 12:04 pm

A 2009 photo of the fa├žade of the Coliseum, at which time the housing development on the site of the auditorium had not been started.


JohnGn on February 20, 2013 at 3:05 am

This cinema was the last ABC cinema in the region to be equiped for cinemascope pictures. From May 1955, Cinemascope pictures that would normaly be expected to screen here were shown instead at the Essoldo and the New Coliseum did not screen them here until October 1956 when an MGM picture “Viva Las Vegas” was shown. It is possible that because of it’s origins as a theatre, it was difficult to fit a reasonable sized Cinemascope screen, which may also be why it had a rising festoon curtain (which I think was red) rather than the more usual side opening tabs. It was certainly the case that the Essoldo had a larger screen. Nevertheless in the summer of 1967, Doctor Zhivago was shown here and ran for four weeks. The last programme to be shown was Dirty Dingus Magee + The Extraordinary Seaman.

Mike_Blakemore on February 20, 2013 at 4:36 am

A Reminder.. Cinemascope Films could only be shown in Cinema Authorised by (20th Century Fox) As it was their Trademark… In the early days the sound was in 4 Track Mag. ABC and the others did a kind of Scope minus 4 Track.. to get around the situation. In most cases ABC also installed festoon Curtains and installed the screen as close to the front as possible. A number of ABC sites and Independants where budget allowed got Modernisation Ltd., to build New Larger Pros outside the small one.. The Original Cinemas Equipt with Cinemascope was Granada.. Essoldo.. and the leading Independant in a Town.. Rank would not invest in Cinemascope until later… When this happened 20th Century Fox then did the dirty and moved to scope release back to Rank except where there was no Rank Cinema in a town..

JohnGn on February 20, 2013 at 9:11 am

Doctor Zhivago was of course in Panavision not Cinemascope. One Wide screen film that was very poular here was Zulu, which was shown several times. The last time that I saw it at the New Coliseum, the opening scene following the titles, which features bare-breasted Zulu women performing a dance, was missing. Were there objections to this scene, or could someone have removed it for their personal collection? Curiously, despite this scene, and the violence in some other scenes, it was still given a U certificate.

JohnGn on June 23, 2013 at 8:21 am

Following the demolition of the auditorium, a new customer service centre for North Tyneside Council, including a new library for the town, has been constructed on the site.

AllanNZ on November 27, 2013 at 4:28 pm

I used to go to the ABC Minors matinees held every Saturday at the Coliseum during 1948/49.

nic1946 on August 6, 2014 at 4:28 am

I also used to go to ABC Minors at this cinema, I can remember how, no matter what the running time of the feature was (mainly westerns) they were always over by midday, if there was any love interest scenes towards the end of a reel an early changeover seemed to happen. When scope was added right at the front of the stage the sides of the proscenium were cut back for extra width, the tabs were mainly black and hand wound and the screen was flat not curved with the top masking fixed resulting in a very cropped wide screen picture.

NThomson on May 13, 2018 at 1:41 pm

I can recall visiting this cinema in 1970 to see “Where Eagles Dare” does anyone know for sure the exact date this was shown..

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