Lights, Camera, Screen 2

What is the Hebden Bridge Picture House ‘Lights, Camera, Screen Two’ Project?

Lights, Camera, Screen Two is an exciting project which explores the opportunity to add a second screen at Hebden Bridge Picture House. The project is proudly led by Emma Green, the Project Manager at Hebden Royd Town Council (HRTC) and Pete Berrisford, the Manager at Hebden Bridge Picture House (HBPH). At its heart, the primary goal of this project is nothing short of ensuring the long-term sustainability of our cherished cinema.

Why do we need another screen?

Enhanced Financial Sustainability: The addition of a second screen would be a strategic move to bolster the cinema’s financial sustainability. As a not-for-profit cinema, any profit generated will be reinvested back into the cinema.

Meeting the Demand for New Films: Managing tight schedules for new films can be challenging for a single-screen cinema. With two screens, we can show more films simultaneously, ensuring we maintain our diverse programme whilst ensuring that you don’t miss out on the latest blockbuster.

Flexibility in Programming: The presence of a second screen means we can respond swiftly to audience demand. For instance, we could show a film earlier than originally planned or add more showtimes when there’s high demand.

Improved Cinematic Experience: Our aim is to make your cinema experience even better. With two screens, we can offer greater flexibility, to cater to the interests of the community and grow our audience. You won’t have to wait long to see that highly anticipated film, and we can add more showtimes during peak interest periods.

Community and Private Events: Having an additional screen opens exciting opportunities for community private hires and other events without disrupting our regular cinema programme.

Frequently Asked Questions from the Public Consultation

We have been delighted with the response to the public consultation; a number of thought-provoking points have been raised and some excellent questions asked of the project. As the consultation draws to a close at the end of April, these points will be carefully considered by the Picture House Committee, which includes six of your Hebden Royd Town Councillors. In the meantime, some of your most frequent questions and comments have been listed below with a response.

Why is there a need for a second screen?
The proposal of a second screen is about future proofing the Picture House. We want to continue to show a wide diverse range of films, however, there is also a need to generate revenue. It is increasingly difficult to balance these priorities as the demands from the distributors increase (the companies that sell the films tell us how many times we must show them) and the theatrical window reduces (how many days a film is available exclusively at cinemas before being available on home streaming platforms). A second screen would also give vital flexibility to show popular films for longer.

Is the Picture House at risk of closure?
The Picture House is not at immediate risk of closure and is set to generate a surplus this financial year. However, as the industry changes, the Picture House must remain ahead if it is to create a sustainable future. As a not-for-profit cinema, any surplus generated by the Picture House is reinvested, we are proud to be a Living Wage employer of over twenty staff including highly trained projectionists. Investments are also made in preserving the 100 year old building or in new technologies like our 4k laser projector.

What about access to the second screen?
The Picture House wants the whole community to be able to enjoy films and have a positive experience. Extensive consideration is being given as to how we might be able to make the venue as accessible as possible, which could include the installation of a lift to the second screen.

The creation of a second screen will spoil the character and ambience of the building.
We understand that the Picture House holds a special place in our community and that part of its uniqueness is its heritage, character and ambience. Whilst we are in no doubt that the building is beautiful as it is, should any works be undertaken, specialist conservation architects will be engaged to ensure that works would be carried out with the upmost sensitivity. They will provide a detailed specification to ensure the preservation or enhancement of areas and to ensure that any new elements do not detract from the overall character of the building.

Will the second screen turn the Picture House in to a multi-plex?
Absolutely not. The culture, character and charm of the Picture House is something that is cherished by all involved. Every effort will be made to preserve these qualities, including continuing to screen diverse and engaging films. We are committed to providing the warmest of welcomes, excellent customer service, and, of course, keeping our delightful traditional kiosk offering.

Will it really be possible to soundproof between the two screens?
Yes. Following consultation and site visits with acoustic specialists, it is possible to fully soundproof between the two screens. We would work with highly skilled audio technicians and technical architects to create soundproofing between the two auditoriums using the most advanced and innovative products on the market. In addition, a soundproof lobby at the rear to the main auditorium would prevent noise transfer from the kiosk.

The legroom in the balcony is poor, how will you create a comfortable viewing experience?
Whilst retaining the beautiful existing seating, the 225 seats would be reconfigured and the auditorium re-stepped. The result would be between 80 and 100 seats with ample leg room and a splendid view of the screen.

Will the Picture House move to showing more blockbuster films at the expense of Indie films?
Not at all. In fact, a second screen would enable the Picture House to offer an even more diverse range of content, including the finest in independent, international, and Hollywood cinema, along with event cinema such as NT Live and Royal Opera House broadcasts.

Will Indie and Art House films only be shown in the Screen 2?
We firmly believe that every film deserves the opportunity to be showcased on the big screen. Therefore, we are committed to ensuring that every film screened at the Picture House is presented in the main auditorium at least once.

What about the loss of capacity in the auditorium?
With over 500 seats the Picture House is seldom at capacity, with the number of times per year that it is full in single figures. Over the year our attendance averages at 66 people per screening, with 300 seats in the main auditorium there would still be plenty of capacity.

Would the Film Festival still continue to run at the Picture House with a reduced capacity?
Our consultation process has engaged with all of our key stakeholders, including the Hebden Bridge Film Festival.
“Hebden Bridge Film Festival is supportive of the move to bring in a second screen to Hebden Bridge Picture House after conducting proper, thoughtful and wide-ranging consultation with the community and specialists ensuring that if the community is in agreement, the alterations are carried out in a careful and appropriate manner to this much loved historic building. Hebden Bridge is special in that it has an extraordinary cinema in a small town but we also recognise that the future long term viability of the Picture House as a single screen venue is unlikely. HBFF would welcome working with the HBPH as a two screen venue for future Film Festivals.” Louise Wadley HBFF

Would the Picture House still be available for private hires and live events such as The Banff Mountain Film Festival?
Yes. We would welcome enquiries for private hires and will continue to work closely with our existing clients. However, these events are not the primary focus of the Picture House and occur only four or five times per year.

Young people are already served by other venues, why encourage them to the Picture House?
Throughout our consultation, we’ve encountered individuals who fondly remember their first visits to Hebden Bridge Picture House as children, decades ago. However, our research shows that today’s younger demographic is not as engaged with our cinema as we would hope. Without them, we risk failing to cultivate the audience of tomorrow—the next generation who will uphold and support the Picture House. We aspire for families to create lasting memories with us and to continue doing so for years to come.

We’re committed to making this cinema the best it can be, and your voice is a crucial part of that journey. Stay tuned for exciting developments and thank you for being a part of the future of HBPH.

Want to have your say? You can contact the team via email here: