Little Theatre Cinema

St. Michael's Place,
Bath, BA1 1SF

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Little Theatre Cinema

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Built by community theatre pioneer Consuelo de Reyes and her husband in 1935, the Little Theatre has remained in the same family since, retaining some of the decorative features of a typical 1930’s cinema while more recently undergoing a discreet conversion into a two-screen arthouse cinema and is now part of the wonderful Picturehouse group.

This cosy little gem is situated in a small square off the main street in Bath and has a classical facade of cream stone, standing in front at dusk you can look up through the projection room windows and watch the spools of the projectors spinning round, all the staff seem to have been here forever.

If you have ever seen “the smallest show on earth” then you know what to expect here, its cosy and lovely and very old fashioned, except its well maintained, has a great arthouse film programme and since the nearby Robbins Cinema closed its likely to be Bath’s only independent cinema. The nearby ABC Beau Nash has now closed when owners Odeon opened a new six-plex just down the road.

Long live the Little Theatre Cinema!

Contributed by woody

Recent comments (view all 10 comments)

woody
woody on October 3, 2005 at 5:19 am

here are some pics of the interior and an early evening exterior shot of this fantastic hidden gem

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Lost Memory
Lost Memory on April 2, 2006 at 9:49 am

This is another photo of the Little Theatre Cinema.

pdrg
pdrg on November 26, 2007 at 3:21 pm

The Little Theatre was originally planned as a dual purpose theatre and newsreel cinema, however the placement of the projectors means the beams may be cut by people standing on the balcony – the main reason the balcony is used mostly for overflow seating for popular events (although with a polite request it may be available for regular screenings too!). The second, smaller screen used to be the flats and scenery store for the stage below – it was converted to a second screen with the dwindling use of the stage for plays (although occasional events still te advantage of the stage in screen 1).

The land beneath the cinema is (as with much of Bath) vaulted catacombs, although there is no convenient access from the cinema as it has been built over (whether by the screen 1 seating or the stage is debated).

Bath’s oldest usher ‘Michael Ball’ had worked in cinemas in Bath for 50 years of his life. ‘The Little’ (as it is locally known) was his last employer, Michael passed away in the same year as the cinema installed a digital HD projector to run alongside the 35mm projector – 2007.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on February 23, 2008 at 3:51 pm

Here is another recent exterior view.

pdrg
pdrg on February 10, 2009 at 1:47 am

The Little has recently launched a fundraising campaign “Love the Little” for essential building repairs and improvements (better wheelchair access, adding a small bar/social space, etc). The campaign was launched with a showing of vintage British comedy “The Smallest Show On Earth” followed by a Q&A session with stars Virginia McKenna and Leslie Phillips.

edithapearce
edithapearce on June 4, 2009 at 12:06 am

In the mid 1960s I did a short relief stint at the nearby Forum. On one of my mornings off I wandered around Bath City and stood outside of the Little Theatre. A gentleman, who I believe may have been Michael Ball, told me about the cinema’s history and gave me a guided tour of the box and building. I was most impressed with the way that I was welcomed. Unfortunately I cannot recall the exact date of my visit but do recall that the cinema was showing “Citizen Kane” that week.

woody
woody on October 15, 2009 at 8:30 am

The Little Theatre has been immortalised for eternity in the excellent new Wes Anderson film THE FANTASTIC MR FOX, is a scene in the town when the animals are battling the farmers they run past the beautifully recreated frontage of the Little including the over door signage, the lobby and the big red CINEMA sign up the front.
I was quite speechless when i saw it last night at the opening night of the London Film Festival
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wJbY3QrIifE

woody
woody on October 15, 2009 at 1:42 pm

a giant bill murray at the little “little theatre"
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