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It has been a tough year for us, and for you, we know. After more than six months of temporary closures, a lot of heartache, and plenty of hard work behind the scenes, we are happy to be able to open our doors and welcome you into Regent Street Cinema.
If you’ve been our guest in the past, you are going to notice some changes. Some of those changes are physical: we have installed new safety measures around the cinema to keep you safe, and everything has been thoroughly scrubbed, leaving our auditorium feeling all shiny and new. Others are a bit less tangible.
Regent Street Cinema is a historic site. Much of what you’ll see today is the result of a thorough restoration project in 2015, but there’s been a theatre on the site since 1848, when it was opened as the Royal Polytechnic Institute Theatre. Then, in 1896, it became a cinema when the first ever screening of moving footage to a paying audience took place here.
“From the moment the Lumière brothers lit up the space with London’s first cinema experience, to its development as a proper cinema in the early 20th century, Regent Street Cinema has regularly staked a claim to be shaping the film going experience for cinephiles in one of the great film capitals of the world,” explains Gregory Sporton, Head of Westminster School of Arts at the University of Westminster.
“Since its restoration, it has hosted great films – old and new – and events that celebrate film culture in an atmosphere created by stunning cinema architecture, a love of cinema history, and an enthusiasm to follow film into the future.”
We’re justifiably proud of our heritage, but we don’t want you to think of us as some kind of museum. We’re looking to the future, using our past as a reminder to always support the art of cinema, and to always seek to showcase new, innovative and exciting uses of the medium.
And that’s what you’ll notice when you look at our upcoming programme. As a single screen cinema, we curate our screenings incredibly carefully; as an independent cinema, we have the freedom to screen films we really believe in.
Sophie Doherty, our Content Manager, says: “We are delighted to be able to offer such a strong and diverse opening line-up, from the rebellious but uplifting New York/Latin vibe of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s In the Heights to the heart-breaking celebration of love and loss in Supernova, where Colin Firth and Stanley Tucci simply astonish with their touching performances.”
Over the coming weeks and months, as the theatrical release landscape continues to shift and change, we’ll endeavour to make sure we’re screening the best that cinema has to offer. We’ll showcase interesting new voices, we’ll bring you the most exciting foreign films, we’ll give you the opportunity to see some old favourites on the big screen, and yes, sometimes we’ll even put on the biggest and best new Hollywood movies.
“We are so pleased to welcome guests back to the Regent Street Cinema,” says Billy Watson, our Executive Commercial Director. “Our cinema is a special place that springs to life when people and film come together. As an independent, we take great pride in catering for all tastes, and look forward to creating the cinematic experience once again.”
We are Regent Street Cinema: a commercial cinema with an indie heart, and a genuine love for the art of cinema.
We can’t wait to show you to your seat.