Seaside Cinema Culture in Britain

The project aims to analyse the specificities, experience and significance of cinemagoing in seaside towns in East Anglia from the 1940s to 1970s. The initial stages of research will focus on the programming and discursive construction of specific cinemas (and other sites that showed films including the circus) in Great Yarmouth; this will be conducted via archival research of local newspaper, cinema programmes and cinema manager’s records.
Initial research suggests that programming varied from that of urban centres in the region but was also marked by shifting programming and divergent forms of entertainment on and off-season. The second stage of the project (for which funding is being sought) will be an oral history conducted with cinema employees and cinema-goers in Great Yarmouth (and potentially beyond). The project aims to build upon the research of those working within the ‘New Cinema History’ (Fuller-Seeley 2008; Knight 2011; Van de Vijver and Biltereyst 2012) in using localized case studies not as a means to ‘illuminate national trends’ – as Arthur’s study of Blackpool’s conversion to ‘Talkies’ is hoped to reveal – but to reveal the specificities, incongruities and shifting landscapes (both seasonally and historically) of cinema- going in seaside resorts marked by contradictory impulses of the everyday (local inhabitants) and the exceptional (seasonal tourists).