Cinemas designed by Fletcher Priest, which include Tyneside Cinema and the Screen on the Green Islington have been voted amongst the “10 best independent cinemas”, “12 coolest cinemas in England” and one of the most “brilliant independent cinemas” by CN Traveller, Guardian, Shortlist, Den of Geek, Pearl & Dean and Visit London, amongst others.
By any measure, Newcastle’s Tyneside Cinema has exceeded all expectations since reopening, and it continues to enjoy significant year on year growth. It sits at the heart of a vibrant local film, visual arts and media industry. Located among Newcastle’s great Victorian streets, it was founded in 1937 by Dixon Scott, the great-uncle of two of the UK’s finest film directors, Sir Ridley and Tony Scott. It is the best, and only, operating example of a purpose-built newsreel cinema in the country. It is a long-established and much-loved institution, with a unique place in the history of film in the North of England.
Fletcher Priest’s brief was to restore, transform and extend it into the UK’s first e-cinema using only digital technology, to stimulate participation in the visual arts and to support a growing local media industry. The work entailed a major restoration of the ‘Classic’ auditorium, with 200 new stall seats and 60 armchairs and sofas in the circle. They celebrated the existing architectural eclecticism, revealing charms that had been hidden for years and made the cinema fully accessible.
The translucent roof-top extension houses two new screens, with 144 seats and 100 seats linked by a foyer, bar, exhibition and event space that glows gently at night. The 1930s ‘Coffee Rooms’ are a local institution and happily have become an even more popular place to meet. The ‘Digital Lounge’ is designed to show locally produced digital media and experimental work, and it is much used as an educational space.
Tyneside Cinema’s facilities support initiatives such as ‘Northern Stars Academy’, a film-making programme that has already produced many films made by more than a hundred 15 to19-year-old filmmakers, mentored by professionals. Shown at many festivals, these films have won awards and graduates have secured places at universities, film schools and employment in the creative industries.