Forthcoming Visits & Events

The Cinema Theatre Association organises visits to cinemas and theatres, past and present, across the UK and overseas. Lectures and other events feature in our programme of activities too. These are usually for members only, so why not join?

Full details are provided in the bi-monthly Bulletin

Apollo's Birthday Celebration and more ...

Monday 27 - Wednesday 29 August

Organised by David Eve and Nick Taylor

The Apollo Manchester staff are very enthusiastic about our visit on 29 August, but I’m still trying to get access to some other interesting venues on the 27th and 28th. I can confirm that we will be staying at our base hotel, the Holiday Inn Express, Stockport, a brand new hotel next door to Stockport train station on the main London Euston to Manchester rail line. Members booking rail tickets should however book a return ticket to Manchester as we will end the trip there. Monday 27 August is a Bank Holiday so we would ask members to get to Stockport by 15:00 and we will hopefully include a visit to the new Light Cinema there with an evening visit to the Plaza Stockport.

I’m planning a coach trip on Tuesday hopefully to Liverpool with stops on the way and we will be in Greater Manchester on Wednesday morning. Our visit to the Apollo will begin at 12:30 with a lunch and then we will have a few hours to explore the building, see some film and cut a celebration cake to mark this amazing old cinema’s 80th birthday. The trip will formally end at the Apollo, so members travelling by train will be able to depart Manchester Piccadilly by 16:00.

There is an option for local members to attend the Apollo visit on its own and this is included on the booking form. Although the Apollo Management have given us the building on the day there has been materials expense by the CTA in trying to get the projectors working, so there will be a charge for those who want to attend the Apollo visit only as well as an amount included in the fee for those attending the whole event.

To find out how to express interest in this trip, please log in to the Members' area

Please send your expression of interest in this event with SAE to: David Eve, Far Ends, 28 Courtenay Road, Lower Parkstone, Poole, BH14 OHD

Scala Cinema, King's Cross London

Wednesday 26 September 17.00 - 18.00

Free visit for CTA Members only

In recognition of the access and support given to author Jane Giles in researching her forthcoming book about the history of the Scala Cinema 1978-1993, she has kindly organised a free visit to the venue for CTA members only.

The King's Cross Cinema was first proposed in 1913 with designs by architect Harry Courtney Constantine. War intervened and the cinema finally opened in 1920 as a 1,390-seat picture palace. It became a Gaumont in 1929 and then an Odeon in 1962. By 1971 the cinema was in the hands of Cinecenta. It was briefly the London Primatarium before being taken over as a repertory cinema in July 1981 when the Scala lost its Charlotte Street site to the new Channel 4. The Scala cinema closed in June 1993 and is now a music venue. The cinema is obviously much changed but has retained some of its original features including the marble staircases.

Jane Giles was programme manager of the Scala from 1988-92 and will lead a tour of the former box office, foyer, circle area… and possibly the roof !

Numbers are strictly limited to 10 on a first-come basis. Please note that there are lots of stairs and no lifts or disabled access, also that the venue will be setting up for the book launch event during the tour.

To find out how to book a place, please log in to the Members' area. Please do not just turn up !

To book a place send an email to [] leaving your name and phone number.

Closing date for applications is 31 August.

All applicants will be contacted if they are successful or not. Jane Giles will try to arrange a further visit if possible at a later date for those unsuccessful on the first round.

Please do not just turn up !

A Double Bill of Presentations

Saturday 29 September at 5.30 (Doors open at 5.00pm)

Film making in North London (1895-1915) - an illustrated talk by Gerry Turvey

The talk will be an account of the major contribution film-makers in the North London area made to early British cinema. It begins with the inventors and pioneers, Birt Acres and Robert Paul at Barnet and Muswell Hill, moves on to the successful commercial producers of the early teens, like British and Colonial at East Finchley and Big Ben at Alexandra Palace and concludes with Hubert von Herkomer at Bushey, who was beginning to think of film as an art form. Gerry will examine the film genres these and other local producers worked in and the shift from short actualities to longer and increasingly sophisticated fiction productions.


West End Theatres that sometimes showed films - an illustrated talk by David Smith

The growth of the new sensation of animated pictures (‘cinema’ had not been coined!) caused a revolution to the established theatre world. Some theatres were forced to diversify and include film shows, initially as a novelty turn on a variety bill and later some embraced film exhibition on a part-time or semi-permanent basis. Gradually theatre buildings evolved to suit the popular form of entertainment. By the mid-1920s this lead to a new style of building designed and constructed as ‘cinema-theatres’ where stage shows could augment films, known as ‘ciné-variety’! CTA member David Smith has researched the subject using his substantial collection of theatre programmes and postcards, supplemented with images from other collections. The talk will show a selection of London’s West End theatres with examples of their use as a cinema and what films were shown.

Venue: The Gallery at Alan Baxter’s, 75 Cowcross Street, Farringdon, London, EC1M 6EL.

Admission on the door: Members and Guests: £8 each. Includes wine, soft drinks and nibbles.

Organiser to contact: Richard Norman; tel: 0208 668 6077; Email: []

Berkhamsted Double Bill: BFI National Archive Poster Collection and Rex, Berkhamsted

Tuesday 16 October

Organised by Adam Unger

A visit has been organised to the British Film Institute (BFI) Poster Collection, housed at their National Archive, in Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire. We are most grateful to the BFI for allowing us to view some of their collection, which is one of the most comprehensive holdings of film posters held anywhere. Included will be Ealing poster examples, press books and some material on cinemas. The BFI is not charging us a fee for this visit and thanks go to Dr Claire Smith and Nigel Arthur for allowing us special access to this Collection.

This visit is open to members only, as there is a restriction on numbers and the tour will be split into two groups, with the first tour commencing at 2.00pm.

Before visiting the BFI, a visit has been arranged in the morning to the nearby grade II listed Rex Berkhamsted, which will be at 11.30am, for a duration of about an hour. The Rex opened in 1938, designed by David Evelyn Nye for the Shipman and King circuit. It closed in 1988 and after a long period of dereliction, James Hannaway restored and reopened the Rex in 2004. The stalls floor has seating and tables for drinks and food, with conventional seating in the balcony, which has proved to be a highly successful cinema operation. After the visit to the Rex, there will be a lunch break, with a choice of many eateries in the area, before the first group assembles to be taken to the BFI Archive by taxi/people carrier or your own transport.

To find out more, please log in to the Members' area

Booking details: The cost of the visit is £5 with an additional charge for the taxi fare on the day. Please apply to Adam Unger, 59 Harrowdene Gardens, Teddington, TW11 0DJ; enclosing SAE and a cheque for £5, made payable to ‘The Cinema Theatre Association’.

The closing date for applications is Friday 5 October.

Please indicate if you will be using the taxi service or your own transport. Any enquiries, email: [] or phone 020 8977 2608.

Getting there: The closest rail station is Berkhamsted, served by London Northwestern and Southern. It is about a 10 minute walk from the station to the Rex in the High Street. Full details in the joining letter.

The closest rail station is Berkhamsted, served by London Northwestern and Southern. It is about a 10 minute walk from the station to the Rex in the High Street. Full details in the joining letter.

Entertaining You with Cinema Designs

Saturday 17 November 5.30pm (doors open 5.00pm)

A specially created Double Bill of illustrated talks concentrating on an array of fascinating and creative building schemes designed to appeal to cinema-going audiences that opened during the interwar boom years of cinema development.

A Super-cinema opening near you, soon ! An Illustrated talk by David Jones

The mushrooming of street signage and publicity in cities and towns throughout the UK declaring ‘A Super-Cinema Opening Near You, Soon’ was frequently to be seen during the inter-war boom period of cinema development. The backing entrepreneurs were justly proud of their ‘temple to films’, trying to make a splash to announce their latest scheme, sometimes in competition with revivals and the big circuits in the nearby locations. Some well-known and some less well-known architects strived to delight audiences to bring the latest design fashion, innovations and convenience into their schemes – just as the management strived to bring the best entertainment and comfort for their patrons. When the opening date was announced souvenir programmes were distributed and these usually contained interesting details including pre-opening (under construction) photos, illustrations and descriptions are rarely seen afterwards.

David Jones has brought together some examples of these ‘A SuperCinema Opening Near You, Soon’ schemes, enabling us to look into what an opening night audience would have experienced with designs, features, VIP celebrities and the presentation


The Mysteries of Hyde Park ! An Illustrated talk by Richard Norman

We explore three differing cinema schemes with the location Hyde Park in common, using images from archives and feature film footage revealing some rare details. A truly amazing unexecuted scheme overlooking London’s Hyde Park was proposed to build a massive cinema-theatre-concert hall complex loosely along the lines and scale of

Radio City Music Hall, New York to be called The International Music Hall and Opera House (1939), using the same team of American architects, which included C Howard Crane. Crane was also associated with the design of the Earl’s Court Exhibition Centre and the Holloway Gaumont. We will delve into the project’s architectural presentation album that hasn’t seen daylight for many a year!

Next, the Hyde Park Cinema, Leeds – it lingered on without modernisation and became and was described as the local flea-pit; it has enjoyed a renaissance and is now about to undergo redevelopment and extension (with advice from the CTA’s Casework group). It was also used as a location set for several feature films and TV series, where some illustrative clips will be shown.

Finally, the atmospheric Regal (later Odeon) Marble Arch, which overlooks Hyde Park. During its early days it was host to commercial 78rpm recordings by its resident orchestra and the large Christie organ at its heart, as it played the signature music for premières and feature films. We will see a special presentation created by the Cinema Organ Society, a visual adaptation featuring the music from the film King of Jazz (1930).

Venue: The Gallery at Alan Baxter’s, 75 Cowcross Street, Farringdon, London, EC1M 6EL.

Admission on the door: Members and Guests: £8 each, includes wine, soft drinks and nibbles.

Coming Soon

The CTA Christmas Party with Members' Slide Show

Saturday 15 December 2018, 5.00pm (doors open 4.30)

Members’ festive party and get-together. Members wishing to suggest a slide show contribution should contact Richard Norman on email: [] or tel: 020 8668 6077.

Venue: The Gallery at Alan Baxter’s, 75 Cowcross Street, Farringdon, London, EC1M 6EL.


It has been decided that owing to the poor availability of hotel accommodation in Porto in May 2018 for the dates we require, the visit will be deferred to 2019 instead.