Back in 2012, award-winning film writer Sean Wilson asked ‘What is the future of Paignton Picture House Cinema?‘ As part of the English Riviera Film Festival you can find out, with a special behind-the-scenes tour of what is thought to be the oldest purpose-build cinema in Europe.
The guided tour, by the Paignton Picture House Trust, is the ideal way to start the week-long film fest on the English Riviera.
The cinema opened sometime between 1907 and 1910, and closed its doors in 1999. ‘Over those 90 odd years, the cinema was at the heart of the local community, and was patronised by the likes of Agatha Christie. An adaptation of Christie’s Ordeal by Innocence starring Donald Sutherland was even filmed in the building,’ wrote Sean.
Sean spoke to projection enthusiast Stuart Saunders and filmmaker Anthony Bueno back in 2012 about the history and the future of the cinema.
A charitable trust was set up to restore and reopen the building. They bought it in 2015 and are now in the process of the restoration journey.
Today many architectural features in the Art Nouveau and Art Deco style survive beneath layers of dust, advises the tour blurb.
Which also says: ‘The tour will access all parts of the building across three floors, including the Projection Room.
‘On the balcony, you will be able to sit in Agatha Christie’s favourite seat; the Picture House was her local cinema when she lived at Greenway.
‘The tour will include object handling of original archive material, and the chance to hear stories from when the building was last fully operational from those who worked there.’
English Riviera Film Festival Paignton Picture House Tour by The Paignton Picture House Trust takes place on Monday, June 12 at
(10am and) 2pm.
For more information, FAQ and to book tickets, go to the Eventbrite page of the English Riviera Film Festival.