I’ve lived in or near Stockport for most of my life, but until just over a week ago I’d never made it into the town’s historic Plaza theatre and cinema.
Originally opened in 1932, the theatre was turned into a bingo hall in the mid-1960s before falling into disrepair almost 40 years later. Faced with possible demolition, the Stockport Plaza Trust took over the building and painstakingly restored it to its former art deco glory, reopening its doors in 2000.
Now, with it’s blazing neon signs you can hardly miss it as you approach the town centre. And its just as impressive from the inside where a wonderful little theatre and cinema awaits, showing everything from ballet and opera to classic films and pantomimes.
And, for the last two years, it has played host to the town’s Screen Stockport Festival, run by young filmmaker Joe Barratt.
With two brilliant films showing this year, including a 50 year anniversary showing of Billy Liar (my Dad’s favourite) and the Stone Roses documentary Made of Stone, each capturing very different but iconic times in northern life, I took this as my opportunity to pay the Plaza a visit. And I was not disappointed…
Stepping inside really is like stepping back to a time of Hollywood glamour; when going out to a Saturday matinee was a real event. And of course, I’m a big fan of any where you can get a pint of real ale to go with your film!
The film choices were excellent; the humour and pathos of John Schlesinger’s classic is still as relevant as it was in 1963, and I’m so glad I got to see Made of Stone at its last showing on the big screen.
Plus it was great to see some of the previous winners of Screen Stockport accolades, some really fantastic short films from home and abroad. I can’t wait to see what next year brings!