Brighton Cinema Duke of York’s Backstage Tour

Brighton And Hove Chamber of Commerce arranged a very interesting backstage tour the other week. I took part in this event as I had missed a previous chance to go and see our lovely Brighton Picturehouse Duke of York’s “behind the scenes”.

Brighton Duke of Yorks Lobby

This cinema is a typical Brighton establisment in that the staff seem more like a family – a family where everyone cares about where they work. We were told for example that some of the art inside the building is created by members of staff: like this painting on the front of the counter that you see as soon as you walk in.

Duke of Yorks painting by staff

We entered the auditorium…

…were greeted by Amy who is the Chamber’s membership manager.

We were told the history of Duke of York’s by a volunteer lady Alexa Lazou dressed in an Edwardian (I think) outfit. It was fascinating. For example, did you know that the Duke of York’s is the oldest purpose-built cinema in the UK? We were shown a lot of old photos as well, including of the opening day in 1910. After the brilliant presentation, we got to see the projection room!

Duke of Yorks projection room

The projectionist Jimmy Anderson told us interesting stories from yesteryear. I think he said he’s worked there for 35 years. Just brilliant. In the photo below is also Felicity Beckett who is the General Manager of the Duke of York’s.

Brighton Duke of Yorks projectionist

It was great to see the old technology in the projection room, but nowadays everything is controlled digitally, of course. You can listen to Jimmy being interviewed about it here.

Duke of Yorks digital films

Oh, and here’s the fine looking Edwardian lady who told us the history of the cinema – at the upstairs bar. I got a glimpse of her on my way to see the upstairs seating area.

Not many people know that there are sofas upstairs! You can buy yourself a ticket for a shared sofa, or even a private “box” with your own sofa.

Duke of York's upstairs sofa seats

It’s a fine picturehouse for sure. Definitely my favourite cinema in Brighton.

In September I will post photos from another Brighton And Hove Chamber of Commerce backstage tour – The Sealife Centre! Watch this space for that one. :-)