Newcastle's Tyneside Cinema, a long-established and much-loved institution, reopened its doors in May 2008 after a major restoration project designed by Fletcher Priest Architects, with funding provided by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Tyne and Wear Partnership and the European Regional Development Fund. Additional funding came from trusts, foundations and many private supporters. The cinema has a unique place in the history of film in the north of England. Founded by a local entrepreneur Dixon Scott, the great uncle of film directors Sir Ridley and Tony Scott, it opened in 1937 and remained a news theatre until the late 1950s.
The Tyneside is the finest surviving purpose-built newsreel cinema in Britain, and the only one still operating as a cinema. The plan for the Tyneside was to transform it into the UK's first e-cinema, using digital technology to stimulate the visual arts in the region, alongside a new and competitive media industry. This entailed a major restoration of the original auditorium, the Classic, with 200 new seats in the stalls and 60 generously sized armchairs and sofas in the circle.
The new roof-top extension houses two new screens, the Electra and the Roxy, with 144 seats and 100 seats respectively. These new screens are linked by a foyer bar enclosed in translucent lightweight polycarbonate sheeting that at night appears as a glowing opaque box. The second floor 'Coffee Rooms' have been in operation since the 1930s.