Planning permission has been granted to the Hyde Park Picture House for an ambitious refurbishment project which will secure this much-loved community institution for generations to come.
At its heart the plans aim to conserve the rich heritage of the cinema’s beautiful Grade II listed building. This includes the restoration of the Picture House’s unique gas lighting and the elaborate plasterwork which can be found throughout. Alongside this sensitive restoration work the scheme also contains vast improvements to accessibility, upgrades to services throughout the building and the introduction of a new flexible second screen in the basement.
The project will allow the cinema to expand its programme and better serve the wide and diverse community of Leeds.
Led by the Picture House’s parent company, Leeds Grand Theatre and Opera House ltd. (LGTOH), the £3.6m project received £122k development funding from the Heritage Lottery fund in 2016 which has allowed the organisation to progress plans for a full National Lottery Grant application which is due to be reviewed later this year. The LGTOH is running an ongoing fundraising campaign to secure the remainder with essential contributions already confirmed from the Pilgrim Trust, the Gwyneth Forrester Trust and the British Film Institute, but the Picture House is still welcoming sponsors who want to help bring the project to fruition.
Leeds City Council, which since 1989 has played a vital role in supporting the Picture House, has also pledged its backing, contributing significant match-funding that will enable the cinema to better serve the city’s ambitious cultural goals.
The Leader of Leeds City Council Councillor Judith Blake said: “The Picture House is a rare architectural gem in our city and it’s a pleasure to be able to support this bold and creative project which aims to not only secure the cinema for generations but also to contribute positively to making Leeds an accessible, compassionate and culturally bold city.”
Paul Scholey, Chair of The Leeds Grand Theatre and Opera House ltd. Board said: “As custodians of three of Leeds’ most historic cultural venues, we’re very proud of the vital role Hyde Park Picture House plays in making our city so special. With audiences growing year on year, it has been so important to put in place a plan which preserves this gem of a building. This week, thanks to the support of our partners at the Heritage Lottery Fund and backing from Leeds City Council, we feel more confident than ever that the future of this wonderful gas-lit cinema is secure’.
Eilidh Henderson of Page \ Park Architects said: “It’s been a pleasure to work with the team at the Picture House, the local community and the planners to grow an architectural response derived from the ideas of the original building to secure the cinema’s future.
We like to think if that old friendly face of the Hyde Park Picture House had taken a selfie, then it would be quite happy to have our new echoing bay extension smiling on its shoulder!”
Building works are due to begin in Summer 2019. Throughout the construction period, the Picture House will be staging an exciting off-site programme of screenings and events around the city, allowing it to continue bringing the best of world and independent cinema to Leeds.
For further details about the project visit: www.thepicturehouseproject.com