Nominated for the CINEMA OF THE YEAR Award 2016! 

Aldeburgh Cinema

Welcome to the Aldeburgh Cinema Website

Aldeburgh Cinema has a fascinating history: it has been screening films continuously since 1919 when the auditorium was built onto the back of a 19th century High Street store. Never a ‘posh picture palace’ the cinema has a glorious atmosphere - it breathes history. The auditorium retains a number of original features, including a number of beautiful art deco lights.

For many years the cinema was privately run until in the mid-1960s there was the threat of closure. A group of local people, led by Lettie Gifford (whose contribution is recognised by plaques in the Foyer and the delightful walled garden at the rear of the building) and including composer Benjamin Britten and his partner Peter Pears, banded together to purchase the cinema and run it on behalf of the local community. Since then the cinema has effectively been a community enterprise with no economic interests at the core but for the great benefit of residents and visitors. The Aldeburgh Cinema Club also formed in these years, and has since been essential in keeping the cinema a welcoming venue closely in touch with its users; please click Cinema Club to read more.

Since early 2013 the nature of Aldeburgh Cinema as a community enterprise is legally reflected by its status as a Registered Charity. This finally represents what has been the true spirit of Aldeburgh Cinema through the decades, and will ultimately enable the cinema to continue to go from strength to strength in its work for the public benefit of the town and region of Aldeburgh.

Over the years National Lottery grants have enabled significant refurbishment and upgrade work to the foyer and auditorium seating (Quinette, acknowledged as the best in the world). As founder member of the UK Film Council's Digital Screen Network the cinema introduced digital projection many years ago, and in October 2012 upgraded to a brand new state-of-the-art High Definition digital projector, in addition to its fully working pair of beautiful 1940’s 35mm projectors enabling the screening of film-historically important non-digital archive material. The cinema is equipped with Dolby Digital Stereo, and boasts a conference PA system, a large theatre stage and a Bechstein baby grand piano. The cinema building also houses an airy Gallery and Arts exhibition space flooded by natural light.

The cinema’s film and special events programme consists of the very best of world cinema at the heart of the community, and aims to be inspirational, meaningful and fun (and lots of it!)

Special events at the cinema include live theatre, opera, art exhibition and ballet transmissions from the National Theatre, New York’s Metropolitan Opera, the Royal Opera House, the National Gallery, the British Museum and Moscow’s Bolshoi Ballet. A programme strand Film and Live Music has been introduced, and there are a range of screenings and activities for children and young people as well as Special Community Events throughout the year.

Aldeburgh DocFest 2012: Lifetime Achievement Award for Leslie Woodhead

Left to right: Thomas Gerstenmeyer, Diana Quick, Leslie Woodhead, Bill Nighy, Martin Rosenbaum


The Aldeburgh Cinema Documentary Film Festival was started in 1995 by Felicity Ann Sieghart, with Craig Brown programming from 1996 to 2010. Diana Quick Has been the festival's Artistic Director since 2011. Supported by a regular year-round programme of the world's best documentary films the Documentary Festival has over the years seen many film stars and makers from Britain and around the globe introduce their work to sell out audiences, including Sir David Attenborough, Nick Broomfield, Melvyn Bragg, Dan Cruickshank, Molly Dineen, Hugh Fearnely Whittingstall, Stephen Fry, Roger Graef, Ian Hislop, Joanna Lumley, Kevin MacDonald, Tony Palmer, Michael Portillo, Griff Rhys Jones, Simon Schama, Julien Temple, Louis Theroux, Leslie Woodhead, to name but a few.


contact us

Contact Us

Aldeburgh Cinema

51 High Street
IP15 5AU

Tel: 01728 454884
Fax: 01728 454026