The Ritz Cinema

in Thirsk

Address: 16A Westgate, Thirsk, North Yorkshire, YO7 1QS

Phone: +44 01845 524751


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We have been here since 1913!  Have you visited us yet?

We show the best of UK released films seven days a week throughout the year (with the occasional break for Christmas and New Year!)  Presentations start every evening at 7.30pm, with doors opening at 7.00pm. We do not currently offer advance booking, so you can just turn up on the day.  Bear in mind, that for some very popular films, we do sell out; so come early!

Since we are a not for profit enterprise, we can keep our prices reasonable, currently £6 full price, £5 for concessions. (Over 60s and under 15s). Monday nights are our budget nights with all seats at £5, and matinees (when we offer them) are also £5. We also have our own loyalty card scheme – get ten stamps and you get in free next time.

A family night out at The Ritz won’t break the bank – nor will you have to have miles to travel, or to have to run the gauntlet of expensive food and drink concessions!  Just a bit of pocket money for confectionery, soft drinks and ice creams. If you do travel by car, for evening showings there is ample free car parking in the Market Place, just a short step away; or up to three hours is available free in the nearby Tesco carpark for matinee screenings.

We participate in the national “MeerKat Movies” scheme, if you buy from their website, you can get two for one entry for screenings on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings.

Literally at the heart of the community, and the town, our 180 seat cinema shows the latest films seven nights a week, with occasional midweek “Silver Screen” and weekend matinees.

We converted to digital projection some years ago, with the help of a national scheme brokered by the UK Cinema Association, and we have a policy of keeping our technology – both sound and vision – up to the state of the art.  The seats are also a lot more comfortable than they were in 1913!

The Ritz Cinema Thirsk was founded in a building originally put up in the 1850’s by a wealthy local landowner as a Mechanics Institute.  The founder was a businessman from Darlington – Walter Powers – who started showing black and white silent films on a screen painted on the back wall of the building. During the First World War, he gave free shows to wounded soldiers, and we have photographs of these events in our archives.

The screen is still there, but replaced by a modern one. The original layout was improved with the addition of a gallery, which it is the way it is today, along with Walter’s blue and gold decorations. The Ritz (under various names) was privately run up until about 25 years ago, when the last owner decided to retire. After a brief spell when it was run by the local council, we are now run by a group of nearly a hundred dedicated volunteers Including the last owner, who now in his 80’s still helps out as projectionist. We also support local efforts by providing work experience to young people on the  Duke of Edinburgh scheme. We also offer free screenings to local schools, and as participants in national schemes organised by the BBC and the British Film Institute IntoFilm initiative, to introduce young people to the delights of the big screen.  We have hearing loops in all areas of the auditorium, and and are fully accessible.

The Ritz also provides a focus for the efforts of local film makers, and because we still have the look and feel of a traditional cinema our auditorium is also used as a location for feature film production. We have staged special screenings of films of local interest, and launches of locally based TV series, like “The Yorkshire Vet”.

Fancy a new way of celebrating a kid’s birthday party? We have a hospitality space behind the downstairs auditorium, with tables and a servery for a party after the showing of a suitable children’s film. You can enquire through our website for details of costs and availability.

We can also offer private hire opportunities, either as a meeting venue, or to provide screenings to celebrate family occasions. These are available subject to our normal screening programme. Details on application.

We pride ourselves on offering a wide range of up to date films, usually shortly after their national release, and try to cater for a range of tastes. 

If you are a visitor to Thirsk, and fed up with a cramped hotel bedroom or caravan, or suffering from the English weather, come and stretch out for an evening in front of our big screen!

Details of current and forthcoming films are available on our website: 

We are on Facebook TheRitzCinemaThirsk or on Twitter @Ritzcinema.

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