It may sound obvious, but heritage is at the heart of what we do at Leeds Heritage Theatres.
It informs how we take care of our beautiful buildings, but it also shapes how we use our programme to explore and preserve the history of our art forms and industry. That’s one of the reasons we love Heritage Open Days, England’s largest festival of history and culture, which has been working with organisations across the country to open up their spaces and collections every September since 1994 in a giant celebration of heritage.
Written by Wendy Cook.
Hyde Park Picture House normally opens its doors every year as part of Heritage Open Days but this year, whilst we are still closed, we have decided to use our On the Road programme to take our love of all things heritage out and about across the city through a range of events.
On the first weekend of the festival (10-11 September), we’ll be heading to Leeds Industrial Museum where you can find us nestled amongst the Kalee Projectors and Louis Le Prince’s early cameras, presenting a mixed programme in celebration of our favourite astounding invention: film.
One of the highlights of our programme at the museum will be a screening of family favourites A Grand Day Out (1994) and The Wrong Trousers (1994), alongside an open zoetrope workshop for audiences to experiment with before exploring the wider collection of the museum.
On Wednesday 14 September, we’ll be working with the Local and Family History Library to present a special screening of South (1919), the original film of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s 1914-1916 expedition on The Endurance. The screening will be introduced by the Hyde Park Picture House’s Heritage Projects Officer, Laura Ager, who will talk about how early 20th century technological advances in moving image contributed to the evolution of what we now call documentary films.
Setting up our trusty screen amongst the pews, on Saturday 17 September from 11am-3pm you can find us at St. John the Evangelist’s Church, the oldest church in Leeds. Found just opposite Leeds Grand Theatre on New Briggate, the church of St. John the Evangelist was founded by John Harrison, a wealthy wool merchant in 1634, and is now in the care of The Churches Conservation Trust.
We’re working in conjunction with the New Briggate Heritage Action Zone Project to present a short programme of films that contemplate the evolution of our city, and how architectural change and the advancement of technology sit in tension with both the reality and the romance of our heritage spaces.
The main film in the programme will be A Poet Goes North (1968) in which poet John Betjeman examines the architecture of the city of Leeds. This screening has been made possible through the support of The TV Time Machine Project, led by the Yorkshire Film Archive and funded by Film Hub North which aims to explore the television heritage collections of the north.
If we’re not too exhausted by all our events, we’re also looking forward to listening to historian Irfan Shah talk about The Lost Films of Louis Le Prince on Friday 9 September at Leeds Beckett University, to learn more about the films of our city’s first filmmaker.
Find out more about Hyde Park Picture House’s Heritage Open Days programme, including times and details, here.
Or to learn more about Heritage Open Days including Irfan Shah’s illustrated lecture and all the other magnificent events in the city please head to www.heritageopendays.org.uk
The Hyde Park Picture House is supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Film Hub North with National Lottery funding on behalf of the BFI Film Audience Network.