Lake Road and Longlands Road,
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Northern Morris Associated Cinemas (Official)
Operated by: Northern Morris Associated Cinemas
Functions: Movies (First Run)
Previous Names: Public Hall, Royalty Theatre
Continuously showing movies (with occasional stage shows and dances) since opening.
It started out as the Public Hall in March 1927 and screened its first film at the opening ceremony. The hall was also equipped with a stage and dressing rooms, and the flat stalls floor had removable seats and a maple dance floor for conversion to a ballroom. However, film was the staple fare. There were just over 600 seats in the stalls and balcony.
Extremely long leaseholders, giving some indication of its success throughout the years, have most unusually been a feature of this cinema. From 1930 (when it was renamed Royalty) to 1952 (when he died) Leonard Clegg held the lease. Next Ronald Cowpe retired after his period from 1952 to 1974. The next leaseholder, John Bailey, also died in 1991 after 17 years in control and for a while, the local council controlled the cinema to prevent it from closing until Charles Morris took over in 1992, and long may he continue!
The cinema has been considerably improved in recent years. In 1995, a second screen was added using the long disused stage as the auditorium with the former dressing rooms as a new foyer and toilets. This seats 100 and is air conditioned. The following year a third screen was added in the former circle lounge and ladies toilets (new ones were created elsewhere!). This seats 65 and is also air conditioned. The original auditorium remains unaltered, but has been thoroughly refurbished and made more comfortable. It now seats 400, using the same space in the stalls and circle as the original 600 seats and still under the barrel vaulted ceiling.
This was the beginning of the Northern Morris Circuit, a group that rescues old cinemas and takes pride in creating the movie experience.
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