Known for its comfy chairs, vintage aesthetics, and the smell of mulled wine that wafts up the stairs from the kiosk as you enter, The Little Theatre Cinema in Bath is a firm favourite for watching new releases, much-loved classics, and live cultural screenings from top theatres from around the world
Built by community theatre pioneer Consuelo de Reyes and her husband in 1935, the Little Theatre Cinema has remained in the same family since, retaining some of the decorative features of a typical 1930s cinema while more recently undergoing a discreet conversion into a two-screen art-house cinema. It is also now part of the wonderful Picturehouse Cinemas group.
The Little Theatre opened on 10 May 1935 with Consuelo de Reyes choosing Vickie as the opening production. The Little Theatre originally had 210 seats in the stalls and circle levels. The proscenium was 16 feet wide and the stage 16 feet deep. There were six dressing rooms, and from 20 January 1936 it was equipped with a Western Electric (WE) sound system and became a news and interest cinema.
The cinema also boasted a tea and coffee lounge for the convenience of its patrons. It went on to playing feature films from 1939, the first two being Peg of Old Drury starring Anna Neagle, followed by Oh Mr Porter starring Will Hay.
The cinema thrived on local support throughout the years as other Bath cinema venues closed, and in 1979 the former scenery store and lounge area were converted into a second screen.
In spite of many refurbishments to keep the cinema up-to-date with digital sound and the latest projection technology, as well as a renewal of the seats to give the very best comfort levels, The Little Theatre has retained the charm and welcoming warmth of a 1930s cinema, including a luxury balcony with sofas in the main auditorium.
If you have ever seen the classic British comedy film The Smallest Show on Earth then you know what to expect here – its cosy, lovely and very old fashioned, except it is well maintained and has a great art-house film programme.
This cosy little gem can be found in a small square off the main streets in Bath city centre and has a classical facade of cream stone.
Ring in the new year with a range of live operas, Shakespeare, ballet and new film releases that are set to do well in the upcoming awards season in January at The Little Theatre. There are live screenings of the Met Opera’s Adriana Lecouvreur, Royal Opera House’s The Tragedy of King Richard the Second. Also showing is the 18th century romp The Favourite, starring Olivia Colman, Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz; Parisian drama Colette featuring Keira Knightley; and historical drama Mary Queen of Scots, with Saoirse Ronan as the Scottish queen and Margot Robbie as her cousin Elizabeth I. Go online to see the full listings.
In February, catch a preview of A Private War and enjoy a satellite Q&A with the cast including Rosamund Pike, Matthew Heineman, Jamie Dornan and other very special guests live from Odeon Leicester Square on 4 February. There’s also cultural screenings of Met Opera’s Carmen, Royal Opera House’s Don Quixote, and fan-favourite showings of Breakfast At Tiffany’s and Dirty Dancing, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. With Oscar season upon us, you can expect plenty of interesting film releases, including Golden Globe-winning Green Book, and Can You Ever Forgive Me? starring Melissa McCarthy and Richard E. Grant.
After last summer’s sell out screening of the award-winning production Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, The Little is showing the hit musical on Sunday 17 March, 2.45pm. Tickets are now on sale.
Little Theatre Cinema
St. Michael’s Place, Bath, BA1 1SF
T: 01225 330803