Centenary of Belfast cinema to be celebrated

Building for Silver Screens, a new exhibtion as part of Absorbing Modernity, a mini festival within this year's Belfast Festival at Queen's, will give an insight into a period and time when over 40 cinemas were operating in Belfast.

It is part of the British Council’s Absorbing Modernity series - a mini festival within the main Ulster Bank Festival at Queen’s - which through a series of events and exhibitions, looks at the history of architecture in Northern Ireland over the course of the past century.

Opening on Thursday, October 16, the exhibition traces the beginnings of early cinemas constructed in the first decade of the 20th Century up to the 1970s and the development of the QFT – with a special talk by Michael Open, former Director of Queen's Film Theatre.

Speakng ahead of the launch, Michael said: 'This photo exhibition will feature 20 of the best Belfast cinemas - starting in 1911 and going all the way up to 1970 with the QFT.

'The vast majority of the cinemas featured are from the golden age of the art deco movement of the 1930s and include the likes of The Ritz; which is now Jurys Hotel, The Majestic on the Lisburn Road; now a furniture store, and the last surviving cinema of its time – the Strand in east Belfast.'

Absorbing Modernity is a mini festival within the Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen’s and is programmed by the British Council and supported by the Arts Council Northern Ireland.

Other highlights of the festival include the Ulster Museum’s Evolution Amidst Revolution exhibition curated by architectural historian, Rosaleen Hickey which reveals previously unseen archives, photographs and plans to trace a hundred year history of one of Belfast’s most iconic buildings.

Building for Silver Screens runs at the QFT from this Thursday, October 16 until Saturday, November 1. As part of the event, there will also be a heritage tour of the Strand Cinema and its unique art deco architecture this Saturday, October 18. Tours are limited to ten people and admission is £3.