Exhibition

In August 1895, Thomas Edison debuted his ‘Kinetophone’ on Market Street. It was a single-viewer peep show device connected to a phonograph, and it represented not only the first appearance of the moving image within St Andrews, but also the first appearance of what we might understand today as ‘sound film’ within the UK.

Since that day, moving images have been exhibited in a variety of spaces – from travelling shows to church halls to the New Picture House. In this section, we examine the shifting histories, geographies and practices of film exhibition in St Andrews.

Live Shows and the Cinema: The Gypsy Baron Premieres in the New Picture House

The Gypsy Baron is an operetta by Johann Strauss II first produced in 1885. It envisions a landowner’s marriage to a gypsy girl, daughter of a Turkish bashaw, at the height of Ottoman rule in Europe. The operetta created a sensation upon release and as a result, it was continuously adapted onto the stage across the world and adapted into film more than five times in the first half of the twentieth century. The operetta enjoyed a different kind of rendition when put on by the St Andrews Amateur Operatic Society for the first time in St...

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‘Caligari Comes To Town: A decline in impact of the classic German horror?’

‘Caligari Comes To Town: A decline in impact of the classic German horror?’

In 1949, The St. Andrews Film Society – formerly known as The Dundee and St. Andrews Film Society – relaunched on its own, with an opening performance of Raymond Bernard’s Les Otages. For this opening event at the New Picture House on 20 February, each of the 150 members in attendance were personally greeted by Mr. A. B. Paterson, the original founder of The Byre Theatre and a key figure in St. Andrews’ artistic community. While the society would become an integral part of the town’s artistic community – through its Sunday evening...

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CinemaScope Comes to St Andrews

CinemaScope Comes to St Andrews

While the two cinemas in St Andrews were often in competition with one another, the 1950s brought a wholly different adversary that threatened to seriously decrease the size of their audiences: it was the beginning of the era of television. One of Hollywood’s answers to the disappearing cinema audience was the introduction of CinemaScope in 1953. This format differentiated from the small screen, by using a widescreen image that suited westerns, historical epics, musicals and other genres that relied on panoramic shots, action scenes and...

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A Ghost in St Andrews – Victorian Illusion and the Shadows of Cinema

A Ghost in St Andrews – Victorian Illusion and the Shadows of Cinema

On 10 May 1875, the local paper reported a ghost in St Andrews.[1] In Hull, there were similar tales of a “spectral visitor”.[2] The Chester Observer told stories of a spirit as “distinct as flesh and blood…pierced in vain by swords”.[3] The man behind these eerie manifestations was John Pepper. Pepper travelled the UK showing off his “ghosts” – optical illusions – to people across the country. When he came to St Andrews he promised “Angels that float in space” and “Spectres that creep up walls”.[4] It’s hard to...

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Cinemas at War

In the build-up to War, there were two cinemas in St Andrews bringing news to locals and competing for business.

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The Cinema House’s Golden Jubilee

The Cinema House’s Golden Jubilee

In December 1963, The Cinema House celebrated its Golden Jubilee. In the extended build up to the celebrations – marked by gold posters and banner advertisements celebrating the cinema’s continued role in ‘entertaining town and gown’ – The Citizen explained that ‘a number of local people who attended the original opening performance’ had been invited to attend a Jubilee screening. These included Mrs J. Lindsay, who was a cashier at the box office in 1913, Arnott Fyfe, who was assisting in the operating box, and Strathkinnes...

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The Jazz Singer in St Andrews

<i>The Jazz Singer</i> in St Andrews

Al Jolson’s famous first talkie, The Jazz Singer, opened at the Cinema House in St Andrews on 13 April 1929, almost a year and half after its famous opening in New York City in October 1927.

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Rivalry on North Street, 1930–1931

Rivalry on North Street, 1930–1931

When the New Picture House opened in December 1930, St. Andrews became home to two competing sound cinemas situated on North Street.

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A Pilgrim Town: The Mix of Old and New on North Street

A Pilgrim Town: The Mix of Old and New on North Street

Over the last century North Street has become the home to two cinemas and, more recently, a Department of Film Studies. The presence of these modern cinemas within this ancient religious and educational centre has greatly shaped how cinema has been perceived and enjoyed within St Andrews.

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Remembering La Scala Today

Remembering La Scala Today

In 2003, St Andrews' first fixed-site of film exhibition, 'The Tin Tabernacle', was demolished.

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