I Spoke To Allen Eyles About The 50th Anniversary Of The Cinema Theatre Association


Good Afternoon Lovelies,

Yesterday the Cinema Theatre Association (CTA) celebrated its 50th year anniversary with talks, presentations and film screenings at the BFI Southbank - the site of the inaugural 1967 CTA meeting and the birthplace of British cinema itself, Regent Street Cinema.

To celebrate the incredible event I interviewed Founder Member of the CTA, editor of the annual CTA magazine Picture House and organiser of the anniversary event, Allen Eyles about what we have to look forward to from the CTA and how they are going to celebrate the anniversary.

Take a look lovelies...

Firstly congratulations on the 50th anniversary! How does it feel to see the company celebrate this land mark moment?
We’re delighted that, fifty years on, cinema going is flourishing and that many traditional cinemas have survived alongside the multiplexes.

 What made you decide to host the event?
 As one of the five founder members, and the only one still active in the running of the CTA, I wanted to tell people what we have achieved and are still doing to promote interest in cinema buildings.

And what do you hope it brings to those who come?
It’s a chance for our members to celebrate and socialise with each other, and for others to find out about us.

How did you select the films that have been chosen for the event?
There have been few films made about British cinemas. We have brought back two documentaries, a Hitchcock film (Sabotage) set in a fictional cinema, and restored copies of the first moving pictures ever seen in this country in 1896 as we are using the very same hall in which they showed, now the Regent Street Cinema. These were shorts made by the Lumiere brothers in France.

And what was it about them that stood out to you?
They were relevant to our mission to promote interest in cinema buildings. The documentaries contain valuable interviews with managers, architects, cinema organists and others who are no longer with us.

What do you think audiences and cinemagoers can do to help protect British Cinemas even more?
They can make a point of supporting historic venues which have far more character and atmosphere than the multiplexes and which are frequently showing the same films as the big chains.

Have you got a favourite cinema that the CTA has worked with or been based in? If so why is that one your favourite?
The Duke of York’s Picturehouse at Brighton. It is the oldest continuously operating cinema in the country, a large single auditorium with a great period atmosphere.

Finally, what do audiences have to look forward to in the future from the CTA? And what do the next 50 years bring?
The CTA is in strong shape to carry on with promoting interest in British and foreign cinemas with visits, publications, lectures and campaigning against any damaging proposals to alter existing historic cinemas.The desire to get out of the home and congregate to watch films in cinemas seems as strong as ever, so we expect cinema to continue to draw audiences and that many will continue to support historic cinemas with their distinctive appeal.

The celebrations will continue throughout the year lovelies, as the company returns to mark their first cinema visit in the same spot on the 26th February at the Grade I listed Gala bingo club, formerly the Granada cinema. Before going on another replica visit from 1967 to the former Astoria Brixton (presently the Brixton Academy) and a trip to Portugal later on in the year.

To find out how you can get involved lovelies, check out their website here: www.cinema-theatre.org.uk

Blog Soon, 
Joey X

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