The Crescent Cinema occupies a very commanding site on the corner of Ropergate and Front Street and was designed by local architects Garside and Pennington. The Crescent Cinema opened on 2nd November 1926 and within the complex was the 1,190 seat cinema which had a fully equipped stage with associated dressing rooms, a cafe and a substantial dance hall. The original projection box was located at the rear of the stall, under the circle. At some time (date unknown) the interior was given an Art Deco style makeover.
It was taken over by the Leeds based Star Cinemas chain in 1944, (as was the Alexandra Cinema in town) and as the popularity of cinemas waned, the Alexandra Cinema was then turned over to bingo in 1961, with films continuing at the Crescent Cinema. However when the Alexandra Cinema was sold off for redevelopment in 1971, Star sub-divided the Crescent Cinema forming a bingo hall in the former stalls and a new 412 cinema in the balcony that, like many of their cinemas, was renamed Studio 1. A new projection box was built in the roof void, and projection to the screen was via a mirror system.
Further changes in ownership to the Cannon Group took place, bingo was superseded by snooker and the Cannon Cinema closed in 1993. It has not been used since, although the snooker club has continued.
The Crescent Project was formed out of a meeting and visit to the former cinema by local residents in August 2015. It was obvious from this meeting that there is a strong community desire to see this iconic cinema and building returned to its former use. Also ensuring the building is multifunctional as an entertainment and community base for the Town. This is after discussing the options for the future use of the building with the local community . From day one it was decided that the word cinema would not be used as it was felt this would limit the project into a single focus and not reflect our aim the full usage of the building. We are conscious of ensuring that 412 and the Snooker club are looked after and benefit from the project. The project is still in its very early stages of development but we have already investigated various similar projects through the county to look at how they are run and were developed to become a community asset.
We are now moving onto the fundraising stage of the project. To enable the best options for funding we have registered the project as a Community Interest Company (C.I.C.)and are also registering as a charity. We have embarked on a program of fundraising for the initial feasibility studies. This is as well as setting up our community cinema. The Community Cinema enables us to be available to update the community about the project along with showing films to the public.