Keighley Picture House
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It opened in 1913 as a single screen cinema with stalls and balcony seating. In the years to come it was used for live shows and pop concerts as well as regular film screenings. In or around 1955 the independent locally owned cinema was purchased by Essoldo cinemas and folded into their chain, losing its "Picture House" moniker in the process and becoming "Keighley Essoldo". The Essoldo company were responsible for closing the managers flat and large bar area using the space to extend the balcony seating backwards creating a vast auditorium in the region of 800-1,000 seats.
In or around 1974 the Essoldo chain was absorbed by Classic Cinemas making Classic the biggest cinema chain in Europe at that time. Classic were responsible for closing and gutting what remained of the venues theatre and converting the balcony into a second screen and projection room for the main screen which is how it remains today.
In or around the late 1970's early 80's Classic went bankrupt and the cinema was acquired from creditors by Bradford Met Council who leased it to a small local firm or co-operative venture. This group restored the cinema to its "The Picture House" moniker. They in turn went bankrupt in 1991 and the cinema was closed but was eventually leased from owners Bradford Met Council by the Northern Morris company and re-opened in 1996.
Currently there is a main downstairs auditorium seating about 308 and a smaller upstairs auditorium that seats about 90. Both auditoriums feature Dolby Stereo sound, air-conditioning and pullman seats. Screen 1 is wheelchair accessible and there are disabled facilities on site although it is advised you contact the cinema in advance if you have access needs and to double check which screen any particular film is showing in when planning your visit. The cinema runs a monthly "Autism Friendly" screening on the first film of the last Saturday of each month which is open to all and a popular way of introducing children and adults to the cinema environment who may be intimidated by it otherwise. For 11 months of the year the local film club runs monthly screenings in the 6pm show slot on the third Sunday of calender months September to July.
There are plans in the near future to equip the cinema with a bar license and start live streaming event cinema such as National Theatre Live and English National Opera. The cinema already has occasional encore screenings of these events.
Despite a popular local misunderstanding The Picture House has never been part of "The Picture Houses" chain of cinemas.
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