Historic cinema to reopen following extensive redevelopment

The Hyde Park Picture House, one of the UK’s oldest cinemas, will reopen on 30 June as work on its refurbishment nears completion.

Thanks to support from The National Lottery Heritage Fund, the 109-year-old Leeds cinema has carried out significant restorations over the past two years.

Works include repairs to its façade and external lamppost, the restoration of original terrazzo flooring, and refurbishment of its nine gas lights which will be lit for every screening.

The Picture House Project, which received funding from Leeds City Council and the Garfield Weston Foundation, has also introduced accessible facilities, including a ramped entrance, Café Bar, Community Room, platform lift and wheelchair accessible toilet.

A new 50-seat second screen, located in the basement, will open later in July – allowing the Picture House to expand its programme.

The cinema reopens with Wes Anderson’s critically acclaimed “Asteroid City”, followed by a summer of screenings and launch events.

During its opening week, the Picture House is holding a series of open days, where audiences are invited to visit, explore the new and refurbished spaces, enjoy free films and see archive material in the Community Room.

Alan Gay, chair of the Leeds Heritage Theatres Board, said: “Hyde Park Picture House is a crucial and much-loved part of the Leeds Heritage Theatre’s family of venues, a community asset and an important heritage venue in the city.

“We’re grateful to The National Lottery Heritage Fund for all their support throughout this project, enabling us to restore and enhance this beautiful cinema and bring film and the history of film to new audiences.

“We cannot wait to welcome the people of Leeds back to the Picture House and look forward to showing the cinema to a new generation of film goers.”

Chris Blythe, Leeds Heritage Theatres CEO, said: “When we started work on the Picture House project in 2015 we had no idea of the challenges ahead and how long our original timeline would have to be extended.

“As we stand on the cusp of re-opening, we are looking forward to a bright future with this gem of a Picture House restored and more accessible than ever before.”

Helen Featherstone, director, England, North at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “Hyde Park Picture House is absolutely a place to see captivating stories on the silver screen, and in addition the venue is at the heart of many fantastic stories for the people of Leeds, and even further afield.

“We’re thrilled that money raised by National Lottery players has preserved this majestic building as a mainstay of the city’s rich, and evolving, cultural heritage.”

Councillor Jonathan Pryor, Leeds City Council’s executive member for economy, culture and education, added: “It’s hugely exciting to see such a cherished piece of the city’s cultural landscape opening its doors once more after what has been a once-in-a-lifetime heritage project.

“Film has a special place in the story of Leeds and the Hyde Park Picture house has been a cornerstone of that story for more than a century.”

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