Welcome to the Len Lye Cinema
The Len Lye Cinema is a space dedicated to the joy of the shared film experience, and presents a distinctive lush interior, state-of-the-art sound system and a lovingly curated programme of films capturing the magic of cinema from Aotearoa and around the world. The cinema has become home to many key film festivals, and regularly experiments with unusual film events, the Pitchblack Playback experience, director and filmmaker talks and workshops, and film programmes uniquely aligned to Gallery exhibitions.
A short history
Cinema has a long history on New Plymouth’s Queen Street.
The first film to ever screen on the site of the current-day Govett-Brewster Art Gallery was the American silent feature film Hearts in Exile (1915) on 12 February 1916 in the ornate Methodist Church.
The building would take on the name The Peoples Picture Theatre before becoming the Regent Theatre on 24 May 1930, proving a hugely popular destination for film lovers, with queues of patrons extending down Devon Street.
On Saturday 27 June 1964 the Regent Cinema screened its last film – the Beatles’ A Hard Day’s Night (1964) before closing, a victim of the increasing popularity of television and diminishing audiences. IN the following two years, the cinema was used occasionally by the local Chinese society for film screenings, before the New Plymouth District Council purchased the building in 1966.
The building reopened on Sunday 22 February 1970 as the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery,
In 2015 – a little over 50 years since the last film was commercially screened on the site - the Len Lye Centre opened, offering the purpose-built 60-seat Len Lye Cinema, complete with luxurious red and black tones and a state-of-the-art sound and projection cinema system.
Film had officially returned to Queen Street.