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UK The Futurist Theatre and Cinema, Scarborough - April 2015

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The Futurist Cinema and Theatre, which can be found in Scarborough, was constructed and fully competed in 1921. Originally it functioned exclusively as a cinema, up until 1958 when its stage area was extended to provide live performances; Shirley Bassey, The Beatles and Ken Dodd were some of the notable acts. In later years, as the site expanded, it also absorbed the adjacent Arcadia Theatre and this was developed into a lounge area. By the 1980’s, Scarborough Borough Council assumed control of the venue and thereafter it was leased to Apollo Leisure Ltd. who ran it until 2002. In December 2002, Barrie C. Stead, the owner of Hollywood Plaza Cinema, bought the Futurist Theatre and refurbished it; installing new projectors, a CinemaScope screen and a DTS sound system. The Futurist, however, closed on 5th January 2014 because a report conducted by the local council suggested that the site was “beyond the point of refurbishmentâ€. The council is now marketing the entire site for redevelopment.

Inside, the Futurist Theatre has a large auditorium with a deep circle, and it is supported on twelve individual columns. In addition to these features, there is also a raised gallery which is divided into separate boxes. The ceiling is divided into two sections which are split by a wide arch: the front part is original with an elliptical dome containing three ornamental ventilation grilles, while the second, which dates from 1968, is much more basic. Finally, there is a deep wide stage with a full tower and counterweight sets.

In October 2014, the BBC reported that Flamingo Land placed a bid to purchase the Futurist Theatre. If successful, the developers intend to demolish the site to make way for a rollercoaster, botanical gardens and a magical cave-themed attraction. The proposed name for this new attraction is ‘Flamingo Land Coast’. Although campaigners have petitioned to save the 1920’s Futurist Theatre, no further decisions have been publically released.

Our Version of Events

It was 1am (ish) one random week day when we found ourselves inside a car travelling towards Scarborough. Up front, the conversation was rather philosophical (trying to fathom the nature of reality, and that sort of stuff), while those in the back were enjoying a quick bevvy. Outside though, the exhaust was beginning to fall off, and the temperature… Well, that was pretty chilly. Nevertheless, we managed to survive the conversation and, although the car began to emit sounds similar to those of a tank, the exhaust didn’t completely fall off. So, in the end we made it to Scarborough ready and eager to explore.

After taking in a bit of good old sea air, a quick look around and fucking about on a roof for a while we managed to find our way inside. The air was immediately incredibly stale and there was a bit too much asbestos for my liking, and if you’re not careful in the dark you can easily fall through the ceiling, but we carried on, and, suddenly, we were inside an almost working theatre. For once, I mused, I could sit wherever I fancied, without the Odeon Ticket Inspector watching to ensure that I sit in the inferior chair I’ve been allocated; not the more sophisticated seating that’s always towards the rear of the auditorium. In fact, by my recollection, all of the seats were exactly the same, which to me seems like a reasonably equal way of organising things. That aside, on the whole the Futurist is absolutely huge, and it takes a long time to get around the whole building – when we eventually decided to leave the sun was already beginning to rise over the seafront. But, since all of the electrics work, finding your way around the cinema becomes more or less straightforward once you begin to gather your bearings.

Explored with Ford Mayhem and Deems.

1: The projector


2: Cupboard in projector room


3: Other side of the projector


4: Smaller projector


5: Cream sherry


6: Standing in the upper gallery boxes


7: The main auditorium


8: Which seat is mine?


9: Light filter machine


10: Top boxes


11: Main corridor at the rear of the auditorium


12: Heading down the stairs


13: Just another row or two


14: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty


15: The decorative ceiling


16: Ice cream stand


17: The chiller room


18: Schweppes soda water


19: Bar area and Wizard of Oz cardboard advertisement


20: The single mysterious chair


21: Managerial office


22: Backstage machinery


23: Backstage pass


24: Side view of main auditorium


25: Planes


26: Leaflets in the bar


27: View from the rear of the auditorium


28: The backroom


29: The Futurist Theatre and Cinema


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That's nice! Looks fresh too. Like the angle in number 6, a nice set you have there mate :thumb

I'm liking All of that red! Journey sounds fun, hope the exhaust survived haha


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That's nice! Looks fresh too. Like the angle in number 6, a nice set you have there mate :thumb

I'm liking All of that red! Journey sounds fun, hope the exhaust survived haha


Cheers mate :) It was well worth the journey. Unfortunately, the exhaust didn't survive :(

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Looks great man, will have to go check this out one day soon :thumb

I heard recently that there are plans to save it. Hopefully it will be used again rather than knocked down.

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Oh man I want this one so badly, considering work was meant to start at the beginning of the year it's encouraging to see nothing had changed in April. Might just pop this back up to the top of my list. Very nice shots indeed :thumb

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Looks awesome. Would really love to go to an abandoned cinema, they look so.. nostalgic :)

Great pics mate

Love a good cinema or theatre. This one is well worth a visit :thumb

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Oh man I want this one so badly, considering work was meant to start at the beginning of the year it's encouraging to see nothing had changed in April. Might just pop this back up to the top of my list. Very nice shots indeed :thumb

It's still unchanged as far as I know mate, probably still worth getting along there and having a visit. Nice beach if all else fails :thumb

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That's a cracking place and a cool report - thanks for sharing. Had this on the radar, will have to investigate further I think!

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That's a cracking place and a cool report - thanks for sharing. Had this on the radar, will have to investigate further I think!

Definitely worth a visit :) Cheers :thumb

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