: a a a a
: A A A

Start Reading the Website Out Loud and control Speed and Volume using the player. You can also hover and click to speak any text on the site.
Adds a distraction Free Mask To The Screen. Block out all unneccessary content and scroll through the page line by line.
Changes the Default Cursor & Pointer to a large version allowing you easy navigation of the website.
Simplify any page on our website with 1 click. You can control Contrast, Colours and Text Size as well as print the page too.
Accessibility Menu
Strand Cinema Belfast

Strand Cinema Belfast


A jewel of art deco design, the Strand is the only remaining cinema in Northern Ireland from that golden era when, at one time, Belfast boasted over 40 picture palaces.

To explore the history of the Strand in more detail, please visit www.StrandStoriesBelfast.com

The Strand was opened on 7th December 1935, built for and operated by the English-based Union Cinemas chain. It had one screen with stage and 1,170 seats. The first film shown was Bright Eyes starring Shirley Temple.

It was built in the grounds of Strandtown House, home to the Heyn family of Headline Shipping and Ulster Steamship Companies fame. It is the last of the pre-war Belfast cinemas still in operation.

Its architect was John McBride Neill whose prolific body of cinema work included the Curzon (Ormeau Road), the Majestic (Lisburn Road) and the Tonic (Bangor).

The cinema’s design was influenced by its proximity to the nearby shipyard of Harland and Wolff, featuring curved walls and a port-holed foyer.

One of the features of the decoration inside the auditorium was three rows of port-holes on the splay walls on each side of the proscenium (the rectangular frame “arch” around the stage). These were back-lit and gave the feel of being inside an ocean liner. The proscenium had a wide plain border surrounding all four sides and had rounded corners. Seating was provided in stalls and circle levels. A café was located on the first floor.

In October 1937, Union Cinemas was taken over by Associated British Cinemas (ABC) who continued to operate it until 1977. Having closed for barely a week, it then resumed under local independent ownership until 1983, when rumours began to circulate that the Strand was about to be knocked down, converted to a bingo hall or sold to a supermarket chain.

Reopened in 1984 by local businessman Ronnie Rutherford, it operated under the name Strand Variety as a concert and live performance venue on its 14 feet deep stage until 1987. Performers included the comedy duo Little and Large and The Drifters.

Ronnie Rutherford had always entertained the hope that the Strand would return to being a cinema. His dream became a reality when it reopened for films in April 1988. Moving with the times, it had been converted to a 4 screen complex: seating in Screen 1: 276, Screen 2: 196, Screen 3: 90 and Screen 4: 80. The most popular film on was Three Men and a Baby, which ran for 26 weeks!

The building’s façade was restored in 1999, emphasising its Art Deco style, and winning a RIBA Architecture Award.

In 2013, the Strand ceased trading as a commercial cinema and Strand Arts Centre was established as a not-for-profit charitable venture to ensure the short-term survival of the building. There are longer term plans to completely renovate the Strand.