Plans drawn up to boost 97 year old Sheffield picture house

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A charity is hoping to get more use out of a historic Sheffield cinema and preserve it for the future.

CADS Trust – Creative Arts Development Space – has signed a 25-year-lease on the Abbeydale Picture House, which opened in 1920, and plan to use it for activities and events, including film screenings, talks, music and theatre.

It’s an iconic space that is so important to the local community, so it’s a huge honour’

And they are also hoping to apply for grants to improve the fabric of the building.

Owner of the Abbeydale Picture House, Phil Robins took over the building in 2012.

He and a small team helped open up the building to the community for screenings, live performances, exhibitions, antiques markets, meetings, talks and even weddings after it had previously been shut for a number of years.

But they have only been able to open 15 days a year for events – because they do not have a full premises licence which would be needed for more.

The charity’s short-term aim is to make initial improvements to the 10,000 sq ft art-deco building so it can secure a full premises licence which will allow unlimited events to take place at the venue.

Kiran Antcliffe, studios and space manager at CADS, said: “We are extremely excited to take on the Abbeydale Picture House and the long-term renovation project on the building.

“It’s an iconic space that is so important to the local community, so it’s a huge honour to take on the responsibility of continuing the hard work onsite to bring it to full use.”

Law firm Wake Smith has drawn up a new lease on the building and the Picture House Social bar which occupies the basement of the building.

In 2003 the Friends of Abbeydale Picture House took over the building and reopened it in September 2008 for regular performances and fundraisers to raise money towards the on-going restoration project.

The Friends of Abbeydale Picture House eventually went into administration and the building went into receivership before Mr Robins took over in 2012.

Mr Robins and his team have started restoration work on site. CADS is aiming to attract funds for additional restoration work.

Mr Robins, said: “As a charitable cause they can access funding grants and will work towards improvements and gradually restoring the building.”

Abbeydale Picture House was opened by the Lord Mayor of Sheffield on December 20, 1920 and was the largest and most luxurious cinema in Sheffield with 1,560 seats.