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New Park Cinema Timeline

Our History

1896 - 1988

1896:
Chichester’s Corn Exchange (now New Look), East Street, has city’s first screening.

1911:
Olympia Electric Theatre opens at Northgate, Chichester.

1920:
The Picturedrome opens on South Street, Chichester, seating 1,000. Now Iceland supermarket.

1937:
Gaumont, Northgate, Chichester (Now Carluccio’s) opens with King Solomon’s Mines. Seats 1,300.

1979:
Granada Chichester announce they will close in 1980 - screening 'The Empire Strikes Back' as their last film.

20th September 1979: Chichester Cinema is Born!
‘Love and Death’ (Woody Allen) first film screened (on 16mm) at Chichester College by Roger Gibson. (Pic left)

1980/81:
Over 40 films shown over a 30-week season. Membership limited to 300. (Pic left)

1982/83:
The society’s name changed to the Chichester College Film Society.

1985:
Chichester City Film Society awarded “Best Film Selection” by British Federation of Film Societies .

1985:
British Film Year. 26 of the 55 films shown that season were British.

1986:
The Chichester City Film Society moves to New Park Community Centre.

1988:
35mm Projector installed. Later, Dolby Stereo Surround Sound. The cinema open 7 days a week.

1990 - 2010

1990:
The National Federation of Film Societies awarded Chichester City Film Society – “Film Society of the Year”.

1992:
First year of the Chichester International Film Festival.

1997:
James Stokes joins as projectionist, soon after by Mark Bradshaw Chief Projectionist. Still with us today.

2000:
Anita Roddick of the Body Shop, Principal Sponsor of the film festival. Regular attendee. Vice-president.

2002:
Mercia Last formed the “Friends of Chichester Cinema at New Park”.

2003:
Chichester Multiplex opens at Chichester Gate

2003:
Ellen Cheshire becomes Cinema’s first General Manager.

2003:
Roger Gibson receives Civic Award for his service to the Community and in October, an Honorary MA from Chichester University College.

2003:
Walter Francisco joins the Cinema as Box Office Manager. General Manager in 2005. Current Cinema Director & Programmer.

2004:
First Baby Makes 2 screening in relaxed atmosphere.

2006:
Retractable seating installed. Grand re-opening 20th July with ‘The Smallest Show on Earth’.

2007:
June: installation of new Heating & Ventilation & state of the art DTS Digital Sound.

2008:
Ninian McGuffie joins the Box Office team & resident film buff. Still with us today.

2008:
First Open-Air Screening, Chichester Cathedral (High Society) to launch 17th Chichester International Film Festival. (Pic left)

2009:
Henry Beltran joins the Cinema as Front of House Manager.

2010:
First ‘Mind for Movies’ Film Quiz at Minerva Brasserie, Chichester Festival Theatre.

2012 - Present

2012:
Digital Projection installed after a short and successful appeal to cinema Friends.

2013:
Satellite receiver installed for live Performance events.

2015:
Ralph Fiennes closes the 24th Chichester International Film Festival.

2016:
New super comfortable cinema seating installed.

2016:
First Drive-In screening (Casablanca) at Festival Theatre car park. (Pic left)

2017:
New comfortable cinema seating installed, with new Heating and Ventilation.

2019:
40th Anniversary celebrations include Ruby Tuesdays, twice monthly screenings of films Roger Gibson programmed from 20 September, 1979.

2020:
Coronavirus hits, but we present 6 Drive In-Screenings in conjunction with the CFT at the Northgate Car Park.

2021:
New high quality audio sound system and speakers installed.