Regent Centre in Christchurch celebrates 90th anniversary with film screened on its 1931 opening day
HISTORY was repeated when more than 300 people enjoyed a free screening to mark the 90th anniversary of the Regent Centre in Christchurch.
A replay of the Art Deco venue's 1931 opening day film, Taming of the Shrew, launched the anniversary celebrations which are set to continue with further film screenings, bingo and special back stage tours.
Celebrated as one of the early ‘talkies’, the 1929 version of Shakespeare’s comedy, starring Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks, was first shown when the Regent was officially opened by town mayor Cllr JW Tucker on Boxing Day 1931.
Laurel and Hardy short Towed in a Hole was shown on a recently restored 35mm projector before the audience sang the national anthem.
The High Street venue was constructed by TJ Rowley in just five months, at a cost of £1.8m in today’s money.
Last year it underwent a £350,000 renovation project to enhance its original 1930s features. The colour scheme was simplified to shades of deep rose, metallic silver and gold, together with black and dark brown colours which were typical of the era, and a new bespoke woven Axminster carpet was fitted.
Other improvements to cinema sound, auditorium lighting and the stage were also undertaken.
Tomorrow (Saturday) the anniversary celebrations will continue with a backstage tour at 10am, prize bingo at midday and a special showing of the venue's best-selling film to date, Downton Abbey, at 3pm, and the classic comedy horror Phantom of the Paradise on 35mm at 7.30pm.
Regent Centre general manager Oscar Sellick-Pilley said: “The Regent saw record-breaking attendances for several events last year which, during these uncertain times, is an incredible achievement.
"Thank you to everyone who has continued to support us. We look forward to welcoming you to a bumper programme of events in 2022.”
All proceeds raised during the weekend will support the Regent’s development fund. For more information visit www.regentcentre.co.uk or contact the box office on 01202 499199.