I love a good movie. It’s a special feeling sitting in the dark with a bunch of complete strangers all interpreting the film in a different way. Unless you’re watching Toy Story.
Unlike Amelie, however, I don’t turn around and stare at people in the dark…
In a city which prides itself on its vibrant history and culture, theaters and cinemas in Edinburgh remain at the forefront of artistic expression not only during the Edinburgh Festival but also throughout the year.
I would like to give you some background information about the theaters and cinemas in haytheatre.com Edinburgh so you can find your ideal motion picture or theater production!
Maria von Trapp once said the beginning was a very good place to start. The Cameo, the oldest cinema in Edinburgh and one of the oldest in Scotland, has been in operation since 1914. It is one of two cinemas in Edinburgh to regularly show art house films and also classics from the past. The cinema is at 38, Home Street at the top of Lothian Road in the city centre.
I remember watching 2001: A Space Odyssey for the first time at the Cameo with a much-needed intermission about two hours in. A trip to the Cameo is almost like a pleasant step back in time as the cinema still retains its golden-age charm and original architecture.
The Cameo cinema provides a pure cinematic experience rather than just an entertaining movie and a box of popcorn.
One of the largest cinemas in Edinburgh, Cineworld at Fountainpark is part of an entertainment complex including bars, restaurants, a bowling alley and a gym.
It’s location just outside the city center also makes it one of the most popular cinemas in Edinburgh and, as a result, the cinema acts as a host for many of the Edinburgh International Film Festival’s screenings in June each year.
This is perhaps my favorite of all the cinemas in Edinburgh partly due to nostalgia as my family took me there as a child and partly due to its warm, unique atmosphere.
The Dominion was opened just before the Second World War in 1938 and has been in private ownership ever since. With only four screens and a limited number of seats, the Dominion has an almost tangible family-run feel to it which is perhaps its greatest strength.
The best part…? The tiny (and I mean tiny) screen which is used for films which are nearing the end of their run. You really feel like you’re getting a private screening.
The Filmhouse Edinburgh
The Filmhouse is arguably Edinburgh’s leading cinema in terms of variety and cinematic scope.
Cinema one is used to screen the latest international releases while cinemas two and three focus on art house films and classics from cinematic history.
The home of the Edinburgh International Film Festival, The Filmhouse opened its doors in 1979 in an abandoned church on Lothian Road in the city centre.
The cinema was expanded over the next two decades to house three separate screens and a sizeable bar area.
Having hosted an array of inspirational cinematic dignitaries such as Martin Scorcese, Sean Connery and James Mason, the Filmhouse Edinburgh is without doubt a key player in the Scottish film industry.
Another key player in the Edinburgh cinema scene is the very successful company Odeon. They have two cinemas in Edinburgh, one on Lothian Road (you can call this ‘cinema street’!) and another at the Westside Plaza in the suburb of Wester Hailes in south-west Edinburgh.
The Odeon has a number of different screens showing all the latest international releases. I recommend checking the website for the Lothian Road cinema and the Wester Hailes cinema for the latest listings.
With two multi-screen cinemas at two of the largest entertainment complexes in Edinburgh, The Omni Center and Ocean Terminal, Vue is also one of the leading cinema companies in Edinburgh.
While the Ocean Terminal cinema tends to satisfy the demand in the north of Edinburgh, the Omni Center cinema at the top of Leith Walk next to the Playhouse controls the market in that part of the city centre.
Both cinemas are popular with those looking to combine a film with a meal, drink or night out at a club.
The Edinburgh Playhouse Theatre
It is perhaps a fitting to start with a theater which used to be a cinema! The Edinburgh Playhouse Theater is the UK’s largest working theater in terms of audience capacity. The theater can seat a whopping 3,059 people.
The Playhouse, which is a stone’s throw from the city center at the top of Leith Walk next to the Omni Centre, was originally a giant cinema built in 1929. In recent times it has become an internationally renowned venue for theater productions and concerts.
As well as putting on hugely successful productions of Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals such as Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat and Cats, the Playhouse has staged concerts by countless artists… U2, Quee.