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Photo Gallery: Share your memories of cinemas in Norfolk

08:18 07 November 2014

Harleston Picture House in 1953

Harleston Picture House in 1953

Archant

It’s the place for a cheeky kiss on a date, to meet friends for an afternoon out or soak-up the latest cultural offering.

The cinema has been a part of British life for decades – and now a Norwich cinema wants to celebrate it.

Norfolk at the Pictures is a £700,000 project by film education charity Cinema Plus, the education arm of Norfolk and Norwich Film Theatre which founded Cinema City.

It’s main aim to involve cinema-goers across the county in a programme of events and activities to capture cinema history.

£500,000 of the cash has already been awarded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, but with donations added in, there is still £50,000 left to find.

Guy Martin, 50, is the education manager at Cinema Plus. He has encouraged people to donate to the exciting project which he says will enable more people to learn about the county’s rich cinema past.

“This project is to make cinema heritage and culture as accessible to as many people as possible,” he said. “Film is such an important part of our culture and we can use it in many ways. From bringing the young and old together to creating the film-makers of tomorrow.”

A central part of the project is the Screen Heritage Centre which will transform an outdated and difficult to reach education space into a practical area fit for learning, exhibitions and community use.

A new entrance and lift in the Cinema City courtyard, as well as better facilities and equipment, will enable Cinema Plus to hold more activities including education workshops, film discussion groups, training sessions for community groups and reminiscence sessions for people living with dementia, as well as permanent and changing exhibitions exploring.

Project activities coordinator Marc Atkinson, 37, said cinema-going was a huge part of people’s lives in the past with as many as 12 cinemas in Norwich at one time.

Already memories have reached the cinema, but more people are urged to get in touch with memories of cinemas in the county.

“The cinema was the place for people to go,” he said. “Most people remember going with their girlfriends, boyfriends, friends to the cinemas, it was always a real social activity. And of course the memories from ushers, the cinema mangers too. They are all the sorts of things we are really interested in.”

Do you have an arts story?

Email emma.knights@archant.co.uk

City’s cinema past

There are many locations in Norwich today which used to be home to stunning cinemas.

They include:

• The site where St Giles car park sits used to be home to the The Norwich Hippodrome.

• The old Mecca Bingo building now demolished on All Saints Green was the Gaumont

• There was a screen in the Assembly House

• Three cinemas stood on Prince of Wales Road – now the home of Norwich’s clubland.

To send your memories of Norfolk’s cinema past call Marc Atkinson on 01603 625 145, email marc@cinemaplus.org.uk or write to Marc Atkinson, Cinema Plus, Cinema City, St Andrew’s Street, Norwich, NR2 4AD

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