Opened on 26 August 1936, Broadway Cinema stands proud at the head of Letchworth's Eastcheap Street. Its original Art Deco windows look lifted from a classic movie, and effortlessly entice passers-by in to see what magic awaits on its four screens.
In the foyer, the original flooring pops against the clean white walls and sleek snack counter. The staff are warm and inviting; each taking the time to properly introduce themselves and find out more about A Film Club. It is immediately clear that, at Broadway, ensuring guests are comfortable is a top priority.
This is also echoed through the high level of cleanliness, with tidy screens and the toilets being some of the most impeccable I have ever seen... A sentence I never envisaged myself writing!
Using Picturehouse programming, the cinema carefully selects an array of popcorn movies and arthouse features, to run alongside the latest in event cinema from the British Museum and National Theatre. Live-streams of stage productions and opera shows are interspersed with live performances in their own multipurpose theatre, providing something for all ages and tastes.
Multipurpose functionality is the biggest influencer when it comes to Broadway's programme. In 2016, the cinema uniquely converted their theatre - which has its own loading bay, dressing rooms and green screen - to accommodate for film screenings too. Their multipurpose functionality doesn't end with their varied and interesting schedule though, and this is shown through their endeavours to support the local area.
Being a charitable service of Letchworth's Heritage Foundation, Broadway strives to encourage visitors to the Garden City both into their screens, and back out to the nearby restaurants, shops and independent businesses. Additionally, money from the cinema is invested back into the town too.
Broadway knows that the cinema can only be as attractive to cinema-goers as the new releases allow them to be. Due to the continuous rise in popularity of Video-On-Demand services, such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, they rely on successful films, a thriving industry and engaged audiences to stay open. Broadway seek those who appreciate the act of going to the cinema, meaning they make every effort to give back to their customers with an all-encompassing experience that caters to all needs.
The upstairs bar and adjacent smaller screen, Broadway 4, are available to hire for private functions and screenings. They also play host to the Letchworth Film Club and ensure the cinema is accessible to all visitors. With weekly subtitled screenings, facilities for the hard of hearing, and wheelchair access throughout the cinema, everyone is welcome.
Supporting the community as a whole is a big part of what Broadway is about, and they attempt to get involved with as many projects as they can. From talks at local schools, colleges and universities, to appearing in student shorts and feature films. If you’ve got a keen eye, you may recognise the cinema’s exterior as The Mermaid nightclub in Edgar Wright’s 2013 Sci-Fi Comedy, The World’s End...
As the last remaining cinema of three in the Garden City, Broadway Cinema continues to adapt to keep up with the times. It has undergone a lot of physical changes since its very first screening, of Follow the Fleet in 1936, but it undoubtedly brings the nostalgic charm of cinema-going into the modern day. With so much on offer, and weekday tickets selling at the reasonable price of £6.50 a film, there's no excuse not to pop in when in the area, and support this independent cinema!