The restoration of the United Kingdom’s first cinema - located in the heart of London’s West End at the University of Westminster in Regent Street – has been given the green light by Westminster City Council, as the campaign to raise funds for the landmark project moves into its next phase.
The Regent Street Cinema is celebrated as the ‘Birthplace of British Cinema’ as it was used by pioneering filmmakers, the Lumière brothers, to perform their first ever moving picture show in the UK on the 21 February, 1896 – 118 years ago today. Building work will commence in April 2014 and the opening of the Cinema is expected in April 2015.
The project will see the preservation of the key architectural features of the Cinema from its 1920’s heyday, combining the restored fabric with up-to-date technology, bringing it into the 21st century. Once completed, the iconic venue will house a 200-seat auditorium which will be open to the public and become a landmark destination for British film and a lively hub for University of Westminster students and external visitors including the local community and school children who will come to learn about the heritage and evolution of film and cinema.
The restored Cinema’s programming will be distinctive and highly informed, combining cutting edge and experimental work with a stimulating mix of the best of current UK, independent British and World cinema, documentary films, retrospectives and classic repertory titles.
The Cinema project is being backed by some of the biggest names in the British film industry who sit on its advisory board. Tim Bevan, Co-Chair of Working Title Films (Rush, Les Misérables, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier Spy), Asif Kapadia, film director and alumnus of University of Westminster (Senna, The Warrior, Far North), Paul Trijbits, Producer (Saving Mr. Banks, Jane Eyre, Tamara Drewe), and cinematographer Seamus McGarvey (The Avengers, Anna Karenina, We Need to Talk About Kevin).