Regent Cinema

1 Newbury Street,
Wantage, OX12 8BU

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Regent Cinema

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Located in Wantage, Oxfordshire. The Regent Cinema was opened on 12th October 1935 with “Stormy Weather”. Seating was provided for 561 in stalls and circle areas. The proscenium was 40 feet wide, and the cinema had a cafĂ©.

The Regent Cinema was taken over by new operators in 1976, and they soon introduced part-time bingo. It went over to being a full time bingo club after the last film was screened on 21st July 1977. Another operator took over in 1980, and they re-introduced films part-time from March 1983 when “ET” was shown. In 1985, the building was purchased by developers, and the cinema was closed for reconstruction.

The building was gutted internally, and a shopping mall was created in the former stalls level, and a restaurant was created where the stage had been. The former circle was extended forward, and re-opened as cinema on 13th June 1986 with Michael Douglas in “Jewel on the Nile”. Seating was provided for just over 200. Another operator took over and in April 1990, the former circle was divided into two screens, with seating for 112 and 87. Robins Cinemas chain took over, and then an independent operator, who closed the Regal Cinema on 8th September 2005 with “The 40-year-old Virgin” and “The Island”.

A group was formed to save the cinema and re-open it, but their plans were tuned down by the owners of the building, who wanted to convert the upper parts of the building into flats, but this was turned down by the council, and the upper parts of the building remain unused today. The former stalls area is still in retail use.

Contributed by Ken Roe
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