Our History and Heritage

Dixon Scott (the great uncle of Sir Ridley and Tony Scott) founded Tyneside Cinema as a newsreel theatre in 1937, with a vision to broaden public access to news and current affairs, which were limited at the time to those with the time, money, and resources to read newspapers. The cinema you see today is a continuation of his original vision and the wonderful legacy that he left behind.

From humble beginnings bringing world news to the people of Newcastle upon Tyne with short documentary films alongside, of course, the occasional cartoon, we’ve come to be recognised as the North East’s leading independent cinema, a reputation that we’re incredibly proud of. The original news theatre auditorium is now our Classic screen, which you’ll recognise by its luxurious Art Deco styling, proscenium arch, and iconic red curtains.

Today we’re the UK’s last surviving newsreel theatre, and when you visit our beautiful venue you’ll encounter not only our rich history but many original design features inspired by Scott’s adventures in the Middle and Far East. It’s hard to miss the beautiful glass mosaic floor in the foyer and the first floor’s original stained glass windows, both of which were hidden from view and preserved for many years before being uncovered during a recent restoration and renovation project.Venture up to the second floor to visit our mini museum, which includes the camera that captured some of the very first national news footage, or watch a daily-changing newsreel in the Classic featuring historic content from the North East Film Archives.


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