Duke of York's Picture House, Brighton
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The Duke of York's Picture House is an art house cinema in Brighton, England. It is the oldest continuously operating purpose built cinema in Britain that has retained both its original name and remains largely unaltered. In 2012 it was voted best Cinema in the UK.
The Duke of York's cinema opened on 22 September 1910 and was one of Brighton's first picture palaces and also one of the first cinemas in the world. It was built on the site of the Amber Ale Brewery, the walls of which still form the rear part of the auditorium. The architects were Clayton & Black. The building remains largely unaltered, it even retains one of its boxes in the balcony area. The original colour scheme was red and cream.
The Duke of York's was always a quality cinema for the more discerning patron, its marketing tag-line for many years was "Bring her to the Duke's, it is fit for a Duchess." The name came from the West End theatre which its first proprietor Mrs Melnotte-Wyatt was also associated with. Being slightly outside the town centre, the Duke's catered for its local audience and this has been its saving grace. While other cinemas in Brighton came and went, The Duke of York's has remained in continuous operation.
The cinema has operated as an arts cinema since 1981 and has passed through several owners and hosted illegal punk rock concerts. The cinema was in a shabby state when it was purchased in 1994 by Picturehouse Cinemas who have invested in the building and returned it to its former glory.
It houses one single screen with 278 seats, including a luxury balcony. It originally seated over 800, but modifications have been made to the inside of the building to create the café/bar upstairs, a concession space downstairs, and to allow for greater comfort.
Giant model legs painted to appear like those of a "Can Can" dancer rest on one of the towers on the front of the building. These came from the "Not The Moulin Rouge Theatre" in Oxford, and were commissioned by one of the cinema's previous managers.[clarification needed]
The building is a Grade II listed building.
In 2007, it launched an appeal to replace its leaking roof. Over £25,000 was raised from public donations, benefit concerts (from local band The Go! Team), benefit screenings and 'sponsor-a-seat' programme. The roof was replaced in April 2008. The balcony was remodelled at the same time to create luxury sofas and armchairs.
It plays host to the Brighton Film Festival each year, CineCity, organised between The Duke of York's and the University of Brighton. It counts as patrons Brighton residents Nick Cave and filmmaker John Hillcoat, as well as actor/comedian Steve Coogan.
Duke of York's manager Jon Barrenechea writes a cinema blog, Splendor Cinema, about the exhibition industry in the UK.
The Duke of York's is home to Picturehouse Cinema's own monthly film and event magazine programme Flick's Flicks. The 10 minute show highlights up-and-coming films and events at Picturehouse venues across the country, and is presented by Felicity Ventom - the Duke of York's assistant manager. The show has run since 2006, originally on ITVLocal.com and now on Picturehouse's own website and social network pages. Famous faces to have been interviewed on the show include Kristin Scott Thomas and John Hurt.
The cinema regularly hosts events such as fancy-dress film premieres, all night Lord of the Rings marathons and late night cult screenings.
- Duke of York's Picturehouse official website
- Duke of York's iPhone site (unofficial, fan made)
- CineCity film festival
- Splendor Cinema – a blog about the film industry