Electric Palace: Hastings Old Town’s wonderful picture show
Sometimes you discover something that you just have to share. So let me tell you about the Electric Palace in Hastings Old Town. It just has to be the perfect cinema. The Guardian ranked it among the top 10 independents in the UK.
Being there’s a pleasure, even before the film starts. You slip through a door beneath the Electric Palace sign in an 18th century building in the Old Town’s High Street, and climb a narrow stairway, the walls plastered with movie posters.
Through a door and you are into a cosy, intimate space with dark red walls and cutains and 50 vintage velvet cinema seats.
The staff are cheery volunteers, and there’s a bar at the back serving organic wine, coffee and so on.
So it’s a cinema from yesterday, but the digital image and sound quality are great.
Electric Palace shows contemporary and classic movies. There’s an emphasis on independent movies, art house and world cinema, but they run fun stuff too.
Tuesday is B-movie fan club night, featuring such classics as The Creature from the Black Lagoon and the Brain that Wouldn’t Die.
When co-owner Rachel Marshall moved to Hastings from Brighton – where she lived next-door to the Duke of York’s cinema – she felt the lack of an independent movie house.
She told Hastings Local Radio (you can listen to her here): “One of the things I missed when I moved here was having access to a wider range of films. I realised lots of other people felt the same way.”
She started running film festivals in the town, then found this space and rented it initially for three months. That was in 2002.
“We managed to find some old red velvet chairs in a barn in Hailsham – they really make the cinema have a cosy distinctive feel.”
Electric Palace also screens films with a local connection, and they’ve run archive footage of the Hasting and St Leonards area.
Details: Electric Palace, 39a High Street, Hastings, East Sussex TN34 3ER