Pictures back after 40 years

Opera House cinema in the Winter Gardens.  Pictured is stage crew member Jonathan Spencer with the new projector.

Opera House cinema in the Winter Gardens. Pictured is stage crew member Jonathan Spencer with the new projector.

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A live screening of a West End musical and showings of classic films are among the treats as cinema comes back to Blackpool’s Winter Gardens for the first time in 40 years on Friday.

Opera House Cinema Nights will feature a host of classics such as When Harry Met Sally, Brief Encounter, Top Gun and Casablanca.

And Billy Elliot The Musical, one of the West End’s most popular shows, will be screened live via satellite from the Victoria Theatre in London on September 28.

The action gets under way this Friday with a girls night out – a showing of the classic Dirty Dancing.

Saturday sees West Side Story, Sunday The Beatles’ Hard Days Night, Monday Casablanca (free) Tuesday Top Gun (free), Wednesday Brief Encounter (free), Thursday Gone With The Wind, Friday When Harry Met Sally and Saturday Les Miserables.

Then, in October, there will be three special screening of just-released Elaine Constantine picture, Northern Soul, together with a Northern Soul-themed after party in the Winter Gardens’ Spanish Hall.

A new digital cinema screen – believed to be the biggest in the North West – and a new surround sound system has been specially installed for the project and further showings are already being planned.

Michael Williams, managing director of the Winter Gardens, said: “The Opera House Cinema Project is one that we’ve thought long and hard about.

“To kick it off we’re putting on some wonderful films at an excellent price – and even some for free – which will give people a taste of what cinema at the Winter Gardens is all about.

“We’ve then got two incredible events – a live screening of Billy Elliot: The Musical and three screenings of Northern Soul including a showing on Saturday night which features what should be a brilliant Northern Soul themed after party.”

Coun Graham Cain, Blackpool Council’s cabinet member for tourism and leisure, said: “We’ve got an incredible range of classic films to kick off the Opera House Cinema Nights project.

“We’ve got the biggest cinema screen in the North West, a brand new sound system and one of the best theatres in the whole country which has just played host to an incredible summer season of one of the best musicals in the world in Mamma Mia! What could be better than watching favourite films – or catching Billy Elliot live from London – in such a fantastic setting?”