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How the Stoll cinema opened 100 years ago.

IT was June 1919 - 100 years ago - when Newcastle's Stoll Cinema opened for business.

The Great War was won and the new phenomenon of cinema - silent, of course - was on the rise.

The venue on Westgate Road had begun life a theatre in 1867 and flourished for decades.

But the war and changing tastes and fashions saw it close in 1917.

It was given a new lease of life when it was leased to impresario Sir Arthur Stoll. It reopened as the Stoll Picture Theatre in 1919.

For the next 55 years, Tynesiders would flock to see the latest movie offerings there.

The first film at the reborn venue was Tarzan of the Apes, starring the long-forgotten Hollywood stars Elmo Lincoln as Tarzan and Enid Markey as Jane. 'Dainty teas' were served in the new cinema's Winter Garden Cafe to mark the occasion.

In 1929, the Stoll was the first Newcastle cinema to feature 'talkies', when Al Jolson's The Singing Fool began a two-month run in May. (At the time, many thought this newfangled form of talking pictures would just be a passing fad!) The unstoppable rise of television after the late 1950s brought a decline in cinema audiences.

By the 1970s, the Stoll was showing salacious X-rated films in a bid to pull in the punters, but in March 1974 it closed.

Returning to it original use, the building reopened as the New Tyne Theatre in 1977.

In 2017, the much-loved, Grade I-listed Tyne Theatre and Opera House celebrated its 150th anniversary.

The Stoll on Westgate Road, 1920s The film Diamond Jim, 1935


Stoll Cinema Winter Garden tea rooms, 1933

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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jun 28, 2019
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