Where to go this week - - by Aimee Sics

Regent Street Cinema paving the way for more cinematic innovations

Regent Street Cinema paving the way for more cinematic innovations IMAGE: Ian Gavan/Getty Images

Who doesn’t love the cinema? A good storyline, thrilling visuals, surround sound, cosy seating and big box of popcorn— majority of which is usually demolished before the movie even starts.

What we love even more is the classic cinema — the art deco architecture with ornate interior features and red velveteen chairs that fling back up with standing ovations and toilet breaks.

A definitive example of such is Regent Street Cinema — most famous for its foothold in British film history. Situated in the heart of London’s West End, the University of Westminster’s Regent Street Cinema is where the first-ever performance of moving images took place.

Yep, you got it — in 1896, for the price of a shilling, 54 patrons witnessed 40 seconds of silent, grainy footage brought in by the Lumière brothers, hand-cranked through a projector. Now 120 years later, that same cinema has undergone a £6.1 million restoration and is featuring much more than 40 second scenes.

The heritage Grade II listed refurbished venue is continuing to pave the way for another century of cinematographic innovation — it is the only UK cinema to show all moving image media, from 16mm and 35mm to Super 8 film, to the latest in 4K digital film.

And not only does the state-of-the-art auditorium offers the best repertory programming, it also serves as a unique arts venue for quality world cinema as well as lectures, screenings, workshops and events.

Regent-st-cinema Regent Street Cinema paving the way for more cinematic innovations


Lest we forget about the popcorn though, or that glass of wine post-film for obligatory de-briefing. The Regent Street Cinema is also home to a secret bar, with a large selection of wines and spirits from around the globe, as well as sweet treats and snacks to keep you well-fuelled throughout their double bills and screenings.

We’ve no doubt that the Regent Street Cinema will maintain its flagship venue status for experimentation and origination, both with industry and artists, in the same essence as when it was built over 175 years ago.

Regent Street Cinema, 309 Regent St, London W1B 2UW 


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