The Regent Theatre

The Regent had been designed to meet the requirements of the rapidly growing and progressive district of which the town of Hinckley

The Regent Theatre
The Regent Theatre - Plans

In 1927 the Architect Horace G. Bradley (of Temple Row, Birmingham) was commissioned by Hinckley and Dursley Theatres Ltd to design The Regent which was to be a 1,000 seat theatre. The Contractors were G.E. and W. Wincott of Nuneaton. Amongst the sub-contractors were Turner & Co, theatre furnishers, of Birmingham, Baxter & Impey, electrical engineers, of Birmingham, Ingram & Kemp, electrical fittings, Birmingham and F. Foster, decorative artist, of Nottingham.

The proposed theatre was to be situated on a commanding site with the main entrance leading out to the busy side of Hinckley. The fascia was to be grey dragged terra cotta and the brickwork for the elevations. Outside there was to be a large car park. The Theatre was to have 800 seats on the main floor of the auditorium, 800 seats within the balcony and also additional standing room for 500 people. There was to be a large stage which was 60' x 30' with space to take any scenery, also ample accommodation for the artists in dressing rooms. The balcony was to be made from concrete. The operating box, re-winding and generating rooms would be of the latest methods and fireproof. On the outside of the building, the building project was to include ten shops with toilets and an office space on the first floor which was to be approached by fireproof staircases. The auditorium and balcony was to be provided with a number of windows to give a pure atmosphere when the theatre is not in use, but when in use to the public the ventilation will be provided by fresh air ducts and electric fans.

The Regent Theatre
The Regent Theatre

The Regent Theatre was opened on Monday 11th March 1929. The Regent had been designed to meet the requirements of the rapidly growing and progressive district of which the town Hinckley is the centre, giving the town a really up-to-date Theatre and Picture House. It had been constructed with carefully thought out plans on one of the most eminent Theatre Architects in the country, Mr Horace G. Bradley and embodied all the important features of the latest English and American Cinema and Theatre constructions.

The theatre was said to be a 'house of amusement worthy of the town and district'. The view from the outside of the theatre gave the impression of size and roominess, which was not dispelled when entering the building. The main entrance was which attractive was located on the corner, with the main part of the building extending parallel with Rugby Road. Also along the part of the building that ran along Rugby Road there were a number of lock-up shops on the ground floor and a suite of offices above that complemented that section of the building.

The Regent Theatre
The Regent Theatre - Stage

On the first impressions on entering the circular hall that lead directly into the auditorium, as well as the staircase from the balcony. The decor was artistic and pleasing to the eye, on the walls there were seven water colours which included a view of Loch Lomond, Thames-side landscape, view of Killarney, and a couple more views of Loch Lomond (the famous Scottish beauty spot).

The Rendezvous Lounge was a spot which was to become popular with the theatre goers, while waiting in a queue there would have been more splendid décor along with a couple of large water colours on the wall which were bright and pleasing to the eye. Three comfortable settees provided comfort along with indirect lighting to give a nice tone to the whole area.

In the Theatre there were seating, lighting and decoration schemes that were done to a very high standard. A sloping floor in the main body of the Theatre, and a terraced balcony gave everyone in that area an unobstructed view of the stage and screen. The soft glow of the coloured lights gave a very pleasant relaxing feeling even though the area was so vast.

The Regent Picture House
The Regent Cinema

The Stage was ample in size for a large performance of stage plays, variety operatic and orchestral entertainments of a very good standard. The accommodation for the artists were five distinct dressing rooms for principals and chorus with every convenience.

For cinema purposes the picture projection plant was of the very latest type. The musical accompaniment was played by an augmented orchestra of six instrumentalists that comprised of two violins, piano, double bass, cornet and a flute. The orchestra was expected to maintain a standard of excellence in accordance of the Theatre itself.

The first film to be shown at The Regent was ‘The Student Prince in Old Heidelberg’ starring Ramon Novarro and Norma Shearer. The film is a story of a cloistered, overprotected Austrian Prince that falls in love with a down-to-earth barmaid in this ‘Viennese fairy tale’.

During 1930, The Regent was the first Theatre in Hinckley to install sound. It was the company's prime venue until sold to Odeon Theatres in 1935.

The Regent Cinema
The Regent Cinema

In 1955, The Regent was renamed to The Gaumont, and a week later CinemaScope arrived. This was to allow the showing of wide screen movies.

In 1961, The Odeon in the Borough closed, and the Gaumont was sold to Classic Cinemas chain of London, The Gaumont was renamed to The Classic.

In 1968, The Classic Cinema was closed and was never to be used again as a cinema.

During 1968, the building was reopened as Vogue Bingo and Social Club, later Rainbow Bingo and then Flutters Bingo. The building would finally close as Flutters Bingo on 15 June 2013.

The building was leased to a new operator who intended to reopen as a live performance theatre and music hall but unfortunately this did not happen and the building was to be demolished.

May 2014, The main auditorium of The Regent was demolished to make way for a Iceland's car park leaving just the facade of the shops that run parallel with Rugby Road and the Front of the building.