10 Pilgrim Street,
Newcastle upon Tyne,
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Tyneside Cinema (Official)
Architects: George Bell
Functions: Movies (Independent)
Previous Names: Bijou News-Reel Cinema, News Theatre, Tyneside Film Theatre
Opened as the News Theatre on 1st February 1937, as its name suggests its programming was newsreels, documentaries, short subjects and cartoons. Programmes were continuous and were of 75 minutes duration. It was initially refered to as the ‘Bijou News-Reel Cinema’ and was a project of local Newcastle film exhibitor Dixon Scott, the great uncle of film directors Sir Ridley Scott and Tony Scott.
Externally, the building looks like a regular office building, and the cinema entrance is on the corner, with shop units adjacent at street level. A 54 feet long arcade led patrons to the box office and actual cinema entrance. Inside the decoration is in an ancient Persian style with touches of Art Deco style. There are inticate mosaic floors in the entrance and circle foyer floors. Seating was provided for 412, with 252 in the stalls and 160 in the balcony, which has a single row of seats located on each side in the side slips which extent towards the proscenium. Above the auditorium were public coffee rooms and also a private cinema.
The News Theatre closed in March 1968, due to the end of production of cinema newsreels. It re-opened on 17th March 1968 as the Tyneside Film Theatre which was supported by the British Film Institute. The opening film was the controversial Swedish sex comedy "Hugs and Kisses" The new name brought about a new policy of screening art house, independent and classic films.
The Tyneside Film Theatre closed in 1975, but was re-opened in 1976 with new operators as the Tyneside Cinema. Several changes have been made over the recent years to the entrance and its canopy. In November 2006 the Tyneside Cinema was closed as work began on a restoration of the interior of the building to the plans of architectural firm Fletcher Priest Associates and the addition of 2 more screens. The operation was transfered to the Town Hall, Gateshead while this work was being carried out.
It re-opened on 22nd May 2008 with two screens added. The original auditorium is known as the Classic and the new auditoriums are named the Roxy & Electra.
In October 2000, the Tyneside Cinema was designated a Grade II Listed building by English Heritage.
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