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The Whiteladies Road Picture House in its heyday


An iconic Art Deco building is in need of tender attention


The silver screen RENOVATING AND REJUVENATING


TWO ORGANISATIONS are helping to bring a beloved building back to life


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HITELADIES ROAD Picture House, located next to Clifton Down shopping centre


in Clifton, Bristol, is a much loved and affectionately remembered cinema that was begrudgingly closed down 12 years ago to great public upset. The cinema was operated as a single-screen 600 seat cinema, which simply was not viable in a time where multiplex 12-screen cinemas were being built in out-of-town developments. The Whiteladies Picture House Ltd, a not-for-profit company that is in the process of converting to a registered charity, aims to raise the funds to purchase the building and then convert it into a community arts centre that consists of a 450-seat theatre, 200-seat cinema and live performance space, large function room, retail


unit and private meeting room. The diversity of the development will make it possible to create a financially viable and self-sufficient venue for all of Bristol to enjoy. The venue will be able to host films, theatre, dance, live music, stand- up comedy, lectures, temporary art installations, corporate events and private functions.


Due to the growing popularity of the arts in Bristol, many companies and organisations are struggling to find available performance spaces. The Picture House’s main auditorium will be the perfect size to fill the gap between the smaller venues such as the Tobacco Factory, Bristol Old Vic Studio and Redgrave (with less than 350 seats each) and the larger venues such as the Hippodrome and Colston Hall, containing approximately 2000 seats each.


The eclectic nature of the venue 80 Clifton Life www.mediaclash.co.uk


The period character of the building will be preserved


will mean that it is unlike any other venue in Bristol; the varied program will attract a large audience base and this, coupled with the multiple spaces, will allow several events to happen simultaneously – and so maximize the possible revenue stream. This is important as the recent cuts in arts council and public funding has made it essential for the building to be able to cover its running costs. For the last 12 months Bristol-based Jonathan Lees Architects have been working with Whiteladies Picture House Ltd to develop plans to restore this iconic Art Deco building back to its former splendour, and have also helped in ensuring that the recent planning application to turn the building into flats and a gym were refused by the Planning Inspectorate. Jonathan Lees Architects are developing a tailored approach


to the development of the project and have assembled a highly competent design team including Chris Baldwin of ACT Theatre Consultants, Duncan Ball of quantity surveyor Bare Leaning and Bare, Russell O’Callaghan of Jubb Consulting Structural Engineers and specialist funding manager Suzy West to help progress the project and to develop the designs. The initial and vital aim of the team is to produce a feasibility study including a detailed business case analysis and vigorous business test carried out by Eric Hargrave, which will help to inform the design of the proposed installations and modifications to the internal spaces. The feasibility study will also outline the phasing of the project over the coming months and years and develop a strategy to ensure that the building use is sustainable during and after


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