A major restoration project will secure the Strand’s future and create a new arts facility for the community. It includes:
- creation of a new performance space in the historic building’s former balcony
- two new creative learning studios
- an intimate performance space
- an interactive exhibition celebrating the building’s unique heritage and showcasing the history of Northern Ireland’s picture houses.
Work will also preserve the historic fabric of the building and ensure the continuation and ongoing development of its film programme.
Dating back to 1935, the Strand was originally a single screen cinema. Its maritime style design was influenced by its proximity to the Harland & Wolff shipyard, featuring curved walls and porthole lights and windows throughout.
The cinema thrived for decades, and it became established as an east Belfast landmark. Over the years, time took its toll and in the 1980s the building’s interior was subdivided to meet public demand for more film choice.
Eventually, in 2013 the Strand Arts Centre was established to prevent the closure and potential demolition of the building. The charity repurposed the building as a thriving arts centre, incorporating a four-screen cinema. In tandem it sought investment to secure the building’s long-term future.
Last year we helped the arts centre secure £4.09 million from the UK government’s Levelling Up Fund.
Additional funding from the council, The National Lottery Heritage Fund and a variety of other sources helped raise the additional finances needed to proceed with the £6.5 million project.
Construction will begin in early 2024 and the Strand will close while the work is carried out. We anticipate that the redeveloped building will open in mid-2025.
Keep an eye on our website and social media for updates.
Share your memories with the Strand
If you have memories of the Strand or Northern Ireland’s picture house past, the team would love to hear from you.
You can get in touch by emailing: email@example.com