Off The Bench, a Lincoln-based voluntary organisation, have set out to bring back the Ritz cinema to its former glory. In this week’s instalment of their updates on the project, OTB’s Michael Skinner has some exciting news.


The exciting news to announce this week is that Off The Bench has signed the lease for the Ritz building!

After a few weeks of dotting i’s and crossing t’s, we are now in a position whereby we can officially start the renovation work.

This is great news for everyone involved as the project can begin gathering pace once again. The future of the Ritz is now secured for the next 25 years and we are looking forward to a prosperous period beginning for the building.

As mentioned in a previous update, we have been attempting to set up an exhibition of the designs for the hoardings once construction work is underway.

Through the hard work of Lecturer Jaki Fisher and her 2nd year Creative Advertising students, we are now in a position to announce when and where this will take place.

The exhibition will be an opportunity for members of the public to see work the students have produced inspired by their brief of The Ritz Project.

Included in the exhibition will be a voting system allowing people to vote on which designs they would like to see used in the hoardings. It will run week long from 12pm on March 12 to 2pm on March 23.

The opening times for viewing the exhibition will be 10am – 3pm Tuesday to Thursday, 12pm – 3pm on Monday and 10am – 2pm on Friday.

The location of the exhibition is inside the Waterside Shopping Centre in the former Hawkers shop unit (opposite Goldsmith Jewellers) on the High Street level.

Throughout the week, students will be on hand to discuss their work and how the Ritz project inspired them to produce their particular images.

Also at the exhibition will be team members of Off The Bench, who will be able to talk about The Ritz project and also hand out our new Ritz-inspired posters and flyers.

We hope to see as many people down there as possible showing their support for the project and the excellent work the students have produced.

For up-to-date news follow the Off The Bench Ritz project on Twitter.

More on the OTB Ritz Cinema project:

The original plans for the Ritz Cinema were found in the Lincolnshire Archives

— Off The Bench, a Lincoln-based voluntary organisation, have set out to bring back the Ritz cinema to its former glory. In this week’s update on the project, OTB’s Michael Skinner looks back the 75th anniversary of the cinema.


Today marks the 75th anniversary since the Ritz Cinema originally opened its doors in 1937. Although we’re not at the stage that we hoped we would be at this point, we remain confident that the project is moving in the right direction.

As announced by The Lincolnite yesterday, we have had to postpone tonight’s commemorative anniversary event due to current restriction and access issues to the building.

However, the show must go on, and we would still like to take this opportunity to remember the 75 year history of a local landmark and provide you an update on the situation.

On February 22, 1937, The Ritz Cinema had its opening night with a screening of San Francisco starring Clarke Gable and Jeanette MacDonald. 75 years on, we have come across the original building plans that were drawn up, stamped and signed off in 1936.

These were located in the Lincolnshire Archives and they display the design and layout of the building in its original form. Ourselves and SRS Builders have been fascinated by these, being able to compare them to the designs for our vision of the venue.

View the original plans on the Facebook gallery

Even in 1936, the design to construction completion was a quick turnover, and this is something that we have revealed we would like to replicate. However, due to the building being left to deteriorate upstairs for such a long period, and the state that it is in, we appreciate the task is not a quick one.

With procedures and processes that are now in place to ensure safety and the right regulations are followed, that weren’t there in 1936, we have to ensure that everything is present and correct. We’d much rather take a little longer to make sure things are done correctly to open the cinema, rather than rush and make mistakes which may further delay the project.

We therefore thank you for your patience and understanding, and we hope that you continue to give us your full support and backing for the project. Without the whole of the community behind us we know that this project wouldn’t be possible. Once we have clearance, we can assure you that we will inform you of the revised date for the special screening.

Together we’ll get there and it will all be worthwhile to have such a great community venue in place.

Off The Bench, a Lincoln-based voluntary organisation, have set out to bring back the Ritz cinema to its former glory. The team keeps The Lincolnite updated with their progress every week.


Following last week’s visit to London, this week we went to visit the Arts Picturehouse in Cambridge for another insightful meeting. A long chat with Trish Sheil, the film education officer, allowed us to find out how it would be possible to work with schools and local communities.

Many ideas have spawned from this, including film and media workshops for people of all ages. We want to empower young people to go through the whole process of having an idea, filming it, and then seeing it up on the big screen.

This leads nicely onto the announcement of two new appointments here at OTB. In moving forward with the project, we have taken on two media production assistants who are Chris Curtis and Ben Mills. Both are local lads, and incredibly talented.

They have been tasked with documenting the project, and once the cinema is up and running, to go out and make professional level commercials for local businesses.

Over the last few weeks the OTB team have been meeting with Jaki Fisher, a lecturer with the School of Art at the University of Lincoln. As a former Ritz patron, Jaki’s enthusiasm for the project has been up alongside ours since the project was announced.

Jaki has been getting Creative Advertising students involved with the project. For when the building work is underway, we wanted some visually stunning hoardings to adorn the site. The students haven’t disappointed — each group of students has created 6 photographs and we’re having a tough time narrowing it down.

This is where you come in. We believe all these images deserve to be seen, and so we are planning to hold an exhibition of the images. We want to know people’s views and let them decide which images should be used.

As a little taster, the image at the top was created by Creative Advertising students Harriet Stringer and Jake O’Coy. As this exhibition is developed further, we shall keep everyone informed. It’s all so busy and exciting at the minute and we want everyone to be involved in the project.

Next Week: Read Chris and Ben’s views for the Ritz project and how they’ll be involved. Meanwhile, you can follow @OtbRitzCinema on Twitter.

+ More stories