One of my series of caches in areas of historical/cultural/social interest in East Belfast.
Caches in the series include:
The Other Side of East Belfast GC5QVE1
A nod to George GC5QXDC
Ty-Isa (The Wardrobe) GC5QXMF
The Strand Cinema GC5QYFE
Church Micro IE 137 Belmont Presbyterian GC5QZ2G
Belmont Tower GC5NZVB
The Searcher GC5QZ1N
The Birth of a Writer GC5QXWM
Church Micro IE 138 St Colmcille’s GC5QZ3X
Church Micro IE 139 Kirkpatrick Memorial, Belfast GC5QZ67
Down in the Hollow GC5QXAM
I hope you enjoy them!
The Strand Cinema
The Strand Cinema is an iconic East Belfast Landmark and is still a thriving cinema and more recently has become The Strand Arts Centre. It is a hub of activity, going from strength to strength and is set to be further refurbished in the coming years. Whilst the Strand Arts Centre is moving with the times to include a wider range of activities it retains all of its charm, a real East Belfast gem.
Strand Arts Centre
The Strand Arts Centre is a not-for-profit social enterprise which occupies an iconic 1935 art deco cinema on a prominent site in East Belfast. It was set up to secure the survival of Northern Ireland’s oldest operational cinema and increase the Arts offer in East Belfast.
It operates a daily programme of new release and current films, weekly ‘Minor’s Club’ matinees and monthly classic films. It has a programme of monthly live music, theatre and comedy shows; regular performing arts, music & film classes and workshops. It also hosts local events, Private Hires and charitable functions.
The Strand first opened its doors as a movie theatre in 1935 occupying a prominent corner site in East Belfast. It is now the oldest cinema in Northern Ireland and is also unique in its distinctive architectural and interior style which merges Art Deco with shipyard influences taken from its close proximity to the dockland (such as curved walls and porthole doors and lighting).
The early years were The Strand’s heyday with the building instantly playing a pivotal role in entertaining and educating the local community.
Throughout the 1960s, 70s and early 80s, the Strand opened and closed a number of times. Following purchase by the current landlord’s father it re-opened in 1986 as a variety theatre seating over 1,000 people and many of the UK’s most loved variety acts at that time performed to a full house. However these were changing times in the entertainment industry and 1988 an internal refurbishment converted the theatre into a four-screen cinema with a wall separating the lower and upper circles creating screens 1 and 2, two further walls converted the wings into the smaller screens 3 and 4.
The next significant change to the building came in 1998 when RPP architects renovated the façade and interior décor emphasising the building's 1930s heritage to create the distinctive design we see today and winning an RIA architectural award for their work.
The Strand has entertained generations of East Belfast families, the fabric of the building is inter-woven with their nostalgic tales:
“When I was growing up in East Belfast in the middle 50s to 60s I was a frequent visitor to the Strand Picture House. I have many many memories of the place, no more so than going to ‘the Minors’ on a Saturday morning to see Batman & Robin, cartoons, etc. The prices were thrupence (3d bit) downstairs and sixpence (a tanner) to the balcony but if you where lucky you could sneak upstairs without paying the extra.” Ken Mills
You can find more information at http://www.strandartscentre.com/strand-heritage