If you’re a fan of the theatre, the arts, music and culture and you’ve never set foot in the Regent Centre you’re missing something really special. This 1930s arts centre first opened as The Regent Cinema situated along Christchurch’s main high street.
It played an important role in the heart of the community for over forty years until it closed as a cinema in July 1973 and reopened as the Mecca Social and Bingo Club. It closed in February 1982 but the local community and the council had recognised the need for an arts centre in the town and a band of 100 volunteers set about restoring it ready to be reopened on June 11 1983.
Celebrating the arts
The Regent Centre continues to thrive and remains one of the finest examples of 1930s art deco cinemas still serving the community. The main theatre has 480 seats and plays host to a great variety of shows, from the latest cinema releases to touring productions, amateur theatre groups, musical performances and dance acts and several local dramatic companies are based at the theatre and perform here.
While it remains true to its original styling, The Regent Centre has been modernised through a programme of improvements to install a new studio theatre at the back of the building, new seats, air conditioning, disabled lifts and toilets. Several of the arts centre’s much-missed features have been reintroduced in the past decade including a canopy over the front doors, poster boards on the pillars out the front and a 1930s neon sign to complete the retro styling.
Modern broadcast technology
Since 2008 the Regent Centre has had the technology to bring in live satellite broadcasts of performances from around the globe including the Metropolitan Opera from New York, National Theatre plays from London’s South Bank and ballet productions from the Bolshoi and Opera de Paris.
In 2012 it updated the original 35mm film projector with digital cinema, bringing an unprecedented picture quality and adding to its satellite broadcast schedule by beaming in performances from the Royal Opera House and the Royal Ballet.
To book tickets or find out more about what’s coming up at The Regent Centre you can call the box office direct on 01202 499199.