Regent Theatre, Great Yarmouth

Photographs of Regent Theatre, Regent Road, Gt Yarmouth

By John Layton

Here are two photographs of the Regent Theatre/Cinema, which now houses Mecca Bingo on Regent Road.

The Cinema held Saturday Matinees for children, called the 'ABC Minors', up until the 1970's, which provided cheap entertainment for youngsters, and gave their parents much needed respite on a Saturday morning!

The bill for these matinees would be a serial, typically Batman or Flash Gordon, cartoons, and some comedy shorts, by the likes of Laurel and Hardy, the Three Stooges and Old Mother Riley, who was actually a man called Arthur Lucan!

Photo:Photograph of Regent Theatre

Photograph of Regent Theatre

Gt Yarmouth Museums

Photo:Photograph of Regent Theatre restaurant

Photograph of Regent Theatre restaurant

Gt Yarmouth Museums`

Photo:Postcard of the Regent Theatre

Postcard of the Regent Theatre

Great Yarmouth Museums

This page was added by John Layton on 05/03/2007.
Comments about this page

Great to see the photograph of the Regent. When I wasn't working at The Little Theatre, I worked at the Regent as a Junior Projectionist. I had the awesome task of projecting the films for The ABC Minors on Saturday mornings. A terrifying experience!
I was back in Yarmouth in June and was saddened to see the fate of the Regent.

By John Hunt
On 16/08/2007

I remember being in this Theatre on stage with Englebert Humperdinck. I was about 16 yrs young (and) the year must of been 1969.

The previous year we were there and saw Jimmy Tarbuck I remember getting told off because I lay on his Mercedes sports car outside the stage door. His registration was COM 1C.

Ooh what happy memories of Gt Yarmouth I have and next week I am celebrating a night there with my now husband for our 25th Anniversary.

By Laurel Burndred (nee Evans)
On 18/07/2008

The restaurant I believe was eventually used by Mr E Fisher as his photographic studio. The entrance to the premises was by a door at the top of some steps on the left hand side of the building. The darkroom facilities were below the auditorium of the theatre/cinema. I used to go there on day release from Great Yarmouth College of Art & Design on Wednesdays in 1965-1966. Mr Fisher had Ilford/ Kennington & Bourlet equipment to process and print black and white photographs. This subterranean facility was extensive. I wonder if the equipment is still down there?

By Paul Godfrey
On 22/11/2008

I work at this grand old building and I would love to find out more about it, all help gratefully recieved

By Kerri Colledge
On 04/12/2008

I was Assistant Manager of the Regent Cinema in the 1960s. Les Brown was the Manager, I also worked with Sonny Fisher as a photographer.The Regent always appears in my dreams, thanks for the memories.Martyn Cranbrook Bc Canada.

By martyn warner
On 12/05/2009

Re other comment about Engelbert Humperdink. He was at the ABC Great Yarmouth, not the Regent. Sold out every night.

Martyn Canada.

By martyn warner
On 12/05/2009

the abc miners was the best threpence downstairs and sixpence upstairs it was the best place to go on a Saturday morning and nice and cheap and you met alot of friends there it really was great.

By valerie patterson
On 10/08/2009

When I left school in 1952 I went to work at the Regent Cinema as a boy projectionist with Sam Farman as Chief Projectionist, Albert Sexton as 1st and William Swords as 2nd with Frank Mallet as 3rd projectionist. Part of my job was to open and close the curtains which was operated behind the stage at the end of the performance and during the interval. At that time behind stage was as it was when it was a threatre. A photograph use to hang in the front foyer of the projection crew. I now live in the states but have good memories of viewing the visitors walking up and down Regent road from the top windows from the projection room.

By Tony Barron
On 09/11/2009

i can remember the ABC minors very well 3d and 6d seats, along with its side boxes and huge circle, i believe the circle ran to cc or dd row. As for the minors the weekly serial was often from the American Republic company, ie Tristram Coffin as Rocket Man as well as the Z Men and the Zombies all in terrific black and white with very dodgy sets, the hats never fell off in the fight scenes. We also started every Saturday with the minors anthems after the birthdays of course.

By paul newby
On 11/01/2010

I agree with the comment by "martyn warner" Engelbert Humperdink, was at the ABC, not the Regent, it was in those days called the Regal which was situated at the top end of Regent Road. Remember as a boy waiting outside the stage door for him to emerge from the theatre and get into his maroon Rolls Royce, surprised how small he was, looked bigger on my telly!

By Ashley Crisp
On 23/04/2012

Englebert was at the Regal I went to see him.  The Regent was great I remember Batman and singing we are the members of the ABC and standing when we left when they played the national anthem.  If it was your birthday you went on stage, yes it was a great time. I paid 3 pence.

By jenny
On 09/05/2012

Oops yes sorry he was at the ABC. Still have happy memories of seeing him and it was about 43 years ago.

By Laurel Burndred
On 18/09/2012

I have a poster for the Regent Monday June 3rd but which year? The Variety acts included a friend's father in "The Three Odellys" tennis acrobats...prices range from 5 old pence to 2 shillings and 40 pence (box). Other posters I have for probably earlier versions of the act are from France 1906 and 1908 so suspect the Regent was pre 1930, anyone know if there are any records kept?

By Linda
On 08/10/2012

I worked here when I left school in 1968 as a Trainee Manager for about a year, but realised it wasn't for me.  I think the Manager was Les Brown.  I can remember having to stand on the Stage during ABC Minors on Saturday morning and do announcements. Terrifying! :)  It was a lovely Theatre (Cinema at the time).  Why do we let these lovely places disappear or get neglected?

By Gerry Bracewell
On 26/02/2013

I worked at the Regent as House Manager in 1980, with Les Elmes as Manager. Dave Tate and Lesley Burcham were projectionsts. ABC Minors were still being shown each Saturday mornings. The auditorium is an excellent example of grand theatre building at its best and is listed. After Mecca Bingo closed the theatre is up for sale. Let's hope the someone will purchase it and return this "gem" of a theatre to its rightful place in the Gt Yarmouth theatre family.

By John
On 11/09/2013

Hello to all ex Regent Cinema Staff. My Mother Kathleen COLBY( nee Merrifield ) worked at THE REGENT CINEMA as an usher, on or around 1930's and onwards. Does anybody remember her? Regards from Australia. 29/8/2013

By Marguerite
On 11/09/2013

Plans have now been lodged with gybc to turn this magnificent old building into a concert hall/nightclub. All historic features will be kept and preserved (but guess they have to as it's Grade 2 listed) Be good to see it back in use.

By Dicky Bor
On 27/11/2013

ABC Minors were great - No2 bus from Beatty Rd ,get off at the Regal and walk down to the Regent - didn't they have gold and silver badges awarded for how many times a year you visited or something along those lines ? - The Birthday announcements were great , we used to throw what ever ice cream or lollypop related rubbish towards the stage - what hooligans! - I had to gain access to the place years later to read the meters etc. and they were deep dark rooms to the right of the place as you went in I think....wonder if they were the same rooms of photography studios ,that were mentioned above? (

By Chris Taylor
On 20/01/2014

I'm afraid the dates are wrong - a number of us on a Facebook page called "I was an ABC Minor" went to the Minors here in the 70s...and maybe it was open through till the 80s because I wasn't born until 1969. :) Going to post this on the page though, hope that's okay...

By Samantha Jane Cox
On 20/01/2014

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