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Originally, the Picturedrome was known as the Holme Valley Theatre and was opened on Easter Monday, March 1st 1913. Amazingly, the original plan of the theatre (which was actually designed as a cinema) seated 1040 people; 240 in the balcony and 800 downstairs. The old projector box was actually positioned outside the cinema, while electricity for lighting was generated by a gas engine installed in an outbuilding. Most probably the projectors were cranked by hand.
The first films to be shown in the Valley Theatre were: ‘A Court Intrigue’, ‘That Awful Pipe’ and ‘Betrayed by a Kiss’. The musical accompaniment was probably live and later replaced with a recorded music device called a panatrope. This was basically a record player with twin turntables.
In the first 10 to 15 years, the theatre presented its audience with a large variety of live acts including musicians, actors and even a stage appearance of a strong man billed as Yorkshire’s Hercules. The first sound feature was the popular ‘Sunnyside Up’, which opened on 13/10/1930. The same year, the auditorium had been redecorated and recarpeted, and a new screen was installed with electrically operated curtains, while dimmers had been fitted to the lights. The projection system was greatly improved as was the sound system.
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