The historic Leeds cinema opens its doors again after an ambitious redevelopment project. See what's on

Hyde Park Picture House Reopening 2023

Since the very first Leeds International Film Festival in 1987, the Hyde Park Picture House (HPPH) has been one of Leeds Film's key venues and partners, helping share the best of independent cinema produce unique film experiences for the greater Leeds Community. HPPH temporarily closed its doors in 2019 to start on an ambitious restoration and redevelopment project that had been in the works for almost a decade. Since then, audiences around West Yorkshire have been anxiously waiting to finally be able to step-foot back into this little piece of Leeds' own cinematic history. So it was with immense excitement and pleasure that we got to take a look around the new building before it's official re-opening and attend a special preview screening of Sherlock Jr., learning a little more about what's next for the cinema. 

First opening its doors in 1914, The Hyde Park Picture House has been a haven for film aficionados or audiences looking for an atmospheric cinema experience that you can't find in most modern multiplexes. With its traditional red curtains, genuine gas lamps and unique architectural features, a large part of the redevelopment has been about saving and restoring the grade II listed building whilst also trying to make a more accessible venue for the Leeds community. Alongside the restoration is a modern expansion including new accessible facilities, improved seating and a community space for groups and organisations. 

The basement of the building has also been expanded with a new, smaller capacity screen installed which will be officially opened in the coming months. The original, main screen is fully functional and the first screenings have already started taking place. We were able to take a look around the new building and attend a preview screening (Buster Keaton's Sherlock Jr.) the day before the cinema officially reopened. Aside from the chorus of "Ohhhs" and "Ahhhhs" from patrons exploring the new space for the first time, it was a great chance to chat to other audience members who all shared in our excitement. 

Hyde Park Picture House Screen Hyde Park Picture House Stairs

In her introduction before the film began, Wendy Cook, Head of Cinema at Hyde Park Picture House recalled the journey taken since shutting their doors in 2019 and the emotional last few weeks as they prepared to finally re-open. Many thanks and messages of appreciation were given to the team, partners and audiences who have helped them finally get to this point whilst letting everyone know that there is still work to be done and the next few months will be about finding their feet again in their improved venue. Wendy also spoke about the large number of audience members who had been sharing their memories and stories of the Hyde Park Picture House and the positive impact that has had for the whole team.  

The Hyde Park Picture House's opening film is Wes Anderson's Asteroid City, with the director's signature visual style and dazzling ensemble cast. It will also see the return and introduction of several programming strands including; Cinema Africa, the best of new and intriguing African cinema, supported by Leeds African Communities Trust; Hyde and Seek, screening family-friendly films, from magnificent animations to spellbinding classics; Creatures of the Night, iconic sci-fi & horror and cult delights, shown during those magic late-night hours; and Tuesday Wonders that focuses on inspiring documentaries, exploring our weird and wonderful world.

They will also be screening the Northern premiere of Shabu, an upbeat and warm-hearted Dutch documentary about a teenager forced to do take on a series of odd jobs over summer to pay back his Grandma after stealing and then crashing her car. That is until he instead decides to win back his Grandmother's trust by staging a block party in order to showcase his talents as a rapper. The premiere will be attended by the director, Shamira Raphaëla, and the star of the film, Shabu, for a Q&A following the film. 

At Leeds Film we are currently still planning our three film festivals, Leeds International Film Festival 2023 (November), INDIs Film Fest (Feb 2024) and Leeds Young Film Festival (April 2024) but we hope to continue our historic partnership with the Hyde Park Picture House; not just because of our shared past but to continue our journey into the future of independent cinema and exhibition in Leeds. So from all of us at Leeds Film, a big congratulations to the HPPH team and everybody who supported this iconic venue through its long path to reopening.

Visit the Hyde Park Picture House website to find out more about the new facilities and to see what's on.