24 Victoria Street,
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The Ritz Cinema (Official)
Architects: Robin Audrey Thomas
Functions: Movies (First Run)
Styles: Art Deco
The Ritz Cinema opened on 13th July 1936 with Binnie Hale in “Hyde Park Corner”. It had seating for 612 seats in stalls and balcony levels. It was split in 1973 when the British Legion purchased the building and converted the stalls level into a socia club A 204 seat cinema was created in the former balcony.
The Ritz Cinema, now operating in the former balcony area, is Burnham-on-Sea’s last movie house. It was slated to close in July 2002 after 70 years of operation, according to an article in ThisIsBristol.com. However, it underwent a restoration, re-opening 17th September 2004, sub-divided into two screens seating 125 and 98, screening “Shrek II” and “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban”. A third screen was added on 23rd October 2015.
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The Ritz did indeed close down in July 2002, but an independent operator bought the cinema and extensive renovations were carried out. It reopened in September 2004 with two screens, digital sound and new projectors and is showing films every day of the week.
The Ritz Cinema opened on 13th July 1936 with Binnie Hales in “Hyde Park Corner”. The opening was attended by Binnie Hales and local resident playwright Ben Travers. The original seating capacity of 612 was in stalls and balcony levels. It was built for and operated by the independent Truman Dicken circuit and the opening day coincided with the opening day of the nearby Oscar Deutsch built Odeon Theatre, Bridgewater.
The Odeon cinema in Bridgewater is still functioning under the ownership of a small independent chain called Scott Cinemas renamed simply as “The Film Centre”. It is now a twin screen cinema.
A picture of the Ritz Cinema after is it was twinned can be seen here.
A third screen was added in 2015.