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One of the world’s oldest cinemas is about to reopen

Nature is healing at Birmingham’s historic The Electric

Phil de Semlyen
Written by
Phil de Semlyen

One of the oldest cinemas in the world, Birmingham’s The Electric in the UK, will reopen on January 21 after a long, Covid-enforced hiatus. Tickets go onsale on Tuesday, January 11. 

The Electric, which first opened in 1909 in a corner of the city that was once a cab rank, has been shuttered during the pandemic.

It underwent a change of ownership last year and to the delight of local moviegoers, for whom it has long been a stylish, homely and bohemian alternative to the city’s multiplexes, it will be opening its doors again this month with a screening of Kenneth Branagh’s new drama Belfast.

The Electric is the oldest cinema in the UK, and one of the most venerable picturehouses on the planet. 

Kevin Marwick, who also owns the 104-year-old Picture House Cinema in Uckfield, bought the cinema in late 2021. 

‘It’s good to know it has a special place in people’s hearts,’ Markwick told the BBC. ‘I think we can do really good things here... I want to make it the go-to place for film lovers.’

The Electric
Photograph: The Electric

Marwick says to expect a continued commitment to 35mm projection, as well as new laser projectors, innovative new membership schemes and a movie-first approach to the filmgoing experience, with fewer ads and less pre-film flim flam. 

If that sounds like your bag, head to the cinema’s official site on January 11 to book tickets for the grand reopening.

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