Almost 500 welcome return of ‘silver screen’

Youngsters get ready for the Saturday matinee
Youngsters get ready for the Saturday matinee

Almost 500 people took the opportunity to see some free films when the silver screen returned to a local theatre after more than 50 years.

Using the name the Electric Palace for its movie sessions, the Hippodrome Theatre, Todmorden, once again became a picture palace with a three-film programme and was opened by Deputy Mayor of Todmorden Coun Jayne Booth..

Once upon a time children flocked to the theatre for Saturday movie screenings and with the Saturday afternoon matinee session almost full to capacity a young audience was able to thrill to The Incredibles, where a team of under-cover heroes trying to live the quiet life were forced to emerge and again save the world.

Saturday and Sunday evenings saw screenings of The King’s Speech and Slumdog Millionaire.

The films - all Oscar winners - were shown for free but donations are welcomed and will go to help Todmorden Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society maintain the Eadwardian theatre, which is in Halifax Road.

Lou Birks, of the Electric Palace organising team, said the weekend was very successful and the team hopes more and more people would continue to support the venture. She thanked everyone attending and the team of volunteers.

“They did a fantastic job and made it happen. It was a fantastic turnout from filmgoers and on Saturday afternoon we were almost full to capacity.

“The other two films had a smaller audience but were still very successful.

“We want to enhance the cinema experience in the future by showing short films before the main event and have an intermission, and so on.

“We also want to do more things with our schools, so this weekend was just the beginning,” she said.

Having originally opened up as a variety theatre - future film legend Stan Laurel was among those treading the boards, still under the name of Arthur Jefferson and yet to meet Oliver Hardy - the Hippodrome also quickly began showing films, from 1909. The cinema closed as a commercial venture but in recent years, for example at Christmas, there have been occasional screenings of films.

TAODS are investing in a new high performance screen to complement its cinema quality digital projector.

The next weekend earmarked for the Electric Palace is April 6 and 7, said Lou.