A black and white portrait of Bernard Atha CBE

Bernard Atha CBE

All of us at Leeds Heritage Theatres were sad to hear of the death of Bernard Atha CBE over the weekend.

Written by Amy Sanderson.

Bernard had a long association with all our venues and our organisation, not only as a Trustee and Chair of the Board for many years, but also as a huge supporter and advocate for culture in Leeds.

In the early 1990s, it was Bernard Atha who used his influence at the Council to support the Friends of Hyde Park Picture House-led campaign to save the cinema. Leeds City Council agreed to purchase the Picture House and oversaw its move to part of the Leeds Heritage Theatres family. Without his intervention, its likely the Hyde Park Picture House would no longer exist and would certainly not be on the cusp of re-opening following a refurbishment and expansion.

Wendy Cook, Head of Cinema for Leeds Heritage Theatres said: “Bernard understood the significance of film as an artform and as such advocated for its value in the city which has shaped the incredible and rich film culture we enjoy here today; including a significant International Film Festival, one of the best DIY film cultures in the country and two amazing historic cinemas.”

Bernard Atha was still a regular visitor to Leeds Grand Theatre, City Varieties Music Hall and Hyde Park Picture House until the pandemic and will be much missed, not just by our teams but by cultural organisations across the city.