The University of Westminster is restoring its Regent Street Cinema, where the very first moving images were first shown in Britain in 1896. The Cinema will be transformed back into a landmark venue for film and the future of film education. To raise money to restore the Cinema, the Name a Seat campaign, where supporters can name a seat for £750, has been launched.
However, we know there are those of you out there who would like to support the project but are unable to give at that level. That’s where the Regent Street Cinema Support Group comes in. We are connecting with alumni and friends of the University of Westminster and its predecessor institutions to encourage individuals to group together to name a seat in honour of inspiring filmmakers - in this case, Michael Powell.
Why are we naming a seat for Michael Powell? Ronald Gow, Polytechnic of Central London graduate and Regent Street Support Group ambassador, explains:
"In 1978, I saw A Canterbury Tale and have never forgotten the striking images or Eric Portman’s mellifluous voice ‘ . .. and when I turn the bend in the road where they too saw the towers of Canterbury, I feel I’ve only to turn my head and see them on the road behind’."
"So why a seat for Michael Powell?.....for his rich visual style in exploring the continuum of life, identity and shared imagination and what it is to be British.
For...The Red Shoes, The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, A Matter of Life and Death, and A Canterbury Tale.
Help pull up a seat as a tribute for turning our heads and enchanting us with the poetry of his cinema."
About the Cinema
On 21 February 1896, 54 people gathered in the Great Hall at the Royal Polytechnic Institution at 309 Regent Street, what is now the Regent Street Cinema at the University of Westminster. They had come to witness a spectacular. The Lumière brothers’ ‘living photographic’ images were to be projected on a large screen. There was a sense of occasion but few present realised the significance of the event. As the curtain fell, the first ever paying audience in Britain had witnessed a moving picture show. British Cinema was born.
How You Can Help
It’s a simple enough idea: to restore one of the most important cinemas in Britain to its former glory. To create a working cinema and state-of-the-art auditorium, a place for learning cultural exchange and exhibitions, a landmark venue for the British film industry. We have already raised over two thirds of the £6 million required. We now need your support to help bring this significant project to completion.
Pledging however much you can in support of this wonderful filmmaker will bring us one step closer. You can also name a seat outright for your favourite filmmaker (or any person of your choice) - click here for more information.
Each donation, no matter how big or how small, will help bring the Regent Street Cinema to life.