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

Talk Presentations - Double Bill

Saturday 9 November at 5.30 (doors open at 5.00pm)

When Cinema Let in the Light by Martin Cleave

Light orchestral music formed a significant part of 20th Century popular culture, so not surprisingly it found its way into the cinema-going experience of the pre-Beatles era. Through historic recordings and vintage broadcasts, this presentation will feature the orchestras of the Commodore Hammersmith and Troxy Stepney, among others, accompanied by images of the cinemas they performed in. It will also feature compositions by theatre organists including Sidney Torch and Louis Mordish. Also, hear how the Pearl & Dean theme went after the pillars faded and all about Joan Sims’ “larky goings-on in the two and threes”.

Martin Cleave has a lifelong interest in music. He began learning to play the piano at the age of 7 and is currently Pianist and Music Manager at the Royal Academy of Dance. In his spare time he is conductor for the ‘Eltham Park Pleasant Sunday Afternoon Orchestra’. Martin is also a long-time member of the CTA.


Putney's Role in Cinema History by Philip Evison

Philip Evison formed an early love for the cinema and has been writing and speaking about the history of his area of Putney in south-west London, for the last 30 years. So when the theme of this year’s Wandsworth Heritage Festival was announced as ‘Entertainment’, the subject for an illustrated talk virtually chose itself – ‘The History of Putney’s Cinemas’, which he gave to a full house earlier this year.

Putney boasts of the existence of about ten venues that exhibited films through the evolution of cinema history. Its first purpose-built cinemas opened in 1911, a couple of years after they first appeared in other boroughs, though moving pictures had, as elsewhere, been shown in adapted premises before then – including in the Frederick Hingston-designed Hippodrome, aka Putney Empire & Palace of Varieties. Recent research has revealed that Putney and its surrounding area has had its claim with early cinema pioneers. The under-recognised Robert W Paul, who was a British scientific instrument inventor, successfully vied with the Lumière brothers to introduce animated pictures for public exhibition. He retired, died and is buried in the locality. There is also strong anecdotal evidence that William Friese-Greene showed some of his early films in the Platt Picture Theatre, housed on the first floor of an empty factory near Putney Bridge.

Venue: The Gallery, Alan Baxter Associates, 75 Cowcross Street, Farringdon, London EC1M 6EL.
Admission on the door: Members and Guests: £10 each, includes wine, soft drinks and light refreshment
Organiser to contact: Richard Norman tel: 020 8668 6077; Email: []

Visit to BBC – Bromley, Bellingham & Catford

Monday 25th November 2019

Organised by Kevin Gooding

For many years London’s largest Borough was deprived of cinema screens. Not anymore. In the last year a new 9 screen Luxury Vue has opened in St. Mark’s Square at Bromley South along with a major restoration to the former Empire, originally 1938 George Coles Odeon, now Picturehouse in the High Street.

Our first visit will start at 09.45 at the Vue, located in St. Mark’s Square opposite Bromley South Station. Cross the road from the station, walk down the side of the Richmal Cromptom Wetherspoons, through a passage way where you will see the entrance to the Vue. We will get a chance to see as many screens as possible before they commence their daily film program.

We then walk through Bromley town centre taking in sites of former cinemas arriving at the newly restored Picturehouse. It is now a 6 screen complex with two brand new screens. One on the roof of the foyer block the other on the roof of the new café bar. The original four screens have been carefully restored and enhanced with larger screens and new seats. After our tour, refreshments will be available in the large café bar.

On leaving the Picturehouse we will take a local bus to Bellingham, where we will see the new Bellingham Film Palace. A new 78 seat cinema located in the historic Fellowship Inn pub. Finally taking another short bus ride to Catford where we visit the Catford Mews cinema, a brand new independent three screen complex located in the former Iceland store.

Unfortunately we have had to start the visit early as we are visiting two working cinemas. For people travelling from outside London there is a Premier Inn opposite the Vue in St.Mark’s Square along with a Travelodge in Bromley Town Centre.

Cost of the visit is £8 payable on the day which includes visit notes and light refreshments. Please register your interest on the visits and events phone number 0208 800 8393 leaving your name and a contact number.

A Christmas Celebration in the West End

Friday 13 December at 6.30pm

Organised by Richard Gray and Ray Ritmeester

As a way of celebrating the CTA’s successful application for the listing of the Empire Haymarket, in the West End – albeit somewhat belatedly, as it was achieved towards the end of last year – we are holding a Christmas party in the cinema by kind permission of the manager. It will be held in the ground floor bar just off the main foyer.

The Empire originally opened as the Carlton in 1927, at first as a live theatre but very quickly went over to films, from which it has never reverted. Paramount Pictures had an involvement as their ‘mountain’ trademark appears twice in stone on the façade. The architects were Frank Verity and Samuel Beverly, who had previously been responsible for the Plaza, the studio’s British flagship cinema around the corner in Regent Street.During the evening there will be an opportunity to view the main auditorium (between shows).

Our Christmas parties have a reputation and tradition of being great fun. Wine or soft drinks and canapés will be served. Tickets at £12.00 are available in advance from: Richard Gray, 45 Arnold Road, London, E3 4NU. Please enclose an SAE (I know this seems dreadfully old fashioned but it still works!) with cheques made out to The Cinema Theatre Association. Please send applications by 6 December.

Getting there: Approaching from Piccadilly Circus, the is halfway down the right-hand side of Haymarket. Piccadilly Circus is on the Piccadilly and Bakerloo tube lines.

Members' Slide Show and Social Evening

Saturday 11 January at 5.30pm (doors open at 5pm)

Organised by Richard Norman

Our usual members’ slide show evening returns in January after last year’s Christmas variation to the theme. The programme will be prearranged to provide an evening of interesting (and entertaining!) members’ slides and videos. Now that we’re in the digital age, members are invited to show us anything of cinema related interest. This can include personal items, press items, mementos or something that you’ve seen on the Internet. If you would like to provide or suggest something, please contact: Richard Norman. Tel: 020 8668 6077 or email: [].

Admission on the door: £10 (including wine, soft drinks and light refreshments). Members and non-members welcome.

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

Coming Soon: After the Final Curtain 2 - America's Abandoned Theatres

Illustrated talk by Matt Lambros

Saturday 22nd February 2020 at 5.30 (doors open 5pm)

In the first of what we hope to be a short series of events featuring international guest speakers, the CTA welcomes back noted cinema theatre photographer Matt Lambros from the USA, who splendidly entertained a ‘full house’ in February 2018 with interior images he had taken of long closed movie theatres in the USA, which were featured in his book After the Final Curtain – The Fall of the American Movie Theater. The quality of the images were truly amazing and we were stunned by his ability to photograph the beauty of dereliction in such difficult circumstances, while Matt gave running comments on his exploits and adventures gaining access into theatre buildings that had been abandoned for decades.

Matt’s book was so successful he has released After the Final Curtain: America’s Abandoned Theaters, copies of which will be available for sale to CTA members on the evening. Come early to grab your seat for another evening of images of what remains after the last ticket was sold.

Venue: The Gallery, at Alan Baxter Associates, 75 Cowcross Street, Farringdon, London, EC1M 6EL (see opposite for travel directions)

Admittance: £10 on the door. Guests welcome (includes wine and light refreshments) The CTA Bookstall will be at the event. Limited copies of Matt's book will be on sale and available for signing.


An up-date from Ray Ritmeester & Mark Price (Jan 2019)

We have been liaising with ‘Travel Editions’ and making reasonable progress with our trip to Porto. Unfortunately the cost of the trip, plus hotels within our price range for our proposed September 2019 visit is almost impossible to find. The poor exchange rate with the Euro is also proving a major obstacle.

There is also a planned visit by The Frank Matcham Society to Berlin in the autumn of 2019 which would mean that our members who are affiliated to both groups would be compromised both on grounds of cost and timings. We have therefore contacted our agents to give us dates in 2020 when they might be able to find reasonable rates. We realise this is disappointing but hope to come back to you later this year with better news.

The latest issue of the ‘BULLETIN’ advertising the Porto visit unfortunately went to press before we had time to amend the item.