Restoring an icon.

Clever Ghost names a seat in the soon-to-be refurbished Strand Cinema.

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We are taking part in The Strand Cinema’s Name a Seat Campaign, helping to raise funds for a much-needed refurb of the beautiful building.

As creatives, we find that the best inspiration for ideas can come from any and all aspects of life. For us here at Clever Ghost, two places we’ve found inspiration consistently in the past are through both architecture and film. Our local cinema, The Strand Cinema in Belfast, encapsulates the essence of both of these sources of inspiration. Cinema caters to a wide range of people, young and old, in various genres and provides a wealth of inspiration for our own ideas. Even if the film or performance is not directly related to an active project, experiencing someone else’s creative project can provide that spark of inspiration that leads you to the perfect creative concept. The same can be said for the beautiful Art Deco architecture of the building.

A true gem of Art Deco design, the Strand is the only remaining cinema in Northern Ireland from that golden era when, at one time, Belfast boasted over 40 picture palaces. It is the last of the pre-war Belfast cinemas still in operation and has been home to endless film showings and performances over the long span of its operation. It’s a building that is full of character which should be cherished and preserved for years to come. It has played a huge part in the life of the East Belfast community for over 85 years but cannot continue to do so without investment.

The building is in urgent need of renovation; it is physically deteriorating, has poor disabled access, and a lack of usable spaces to meet the demand for its youth, education, and community outreach activities. Due to limited stage and dressing room facilities, the Strand cannot presently accommodate some of the best performers and theatre companies who wish to be in their programme.

We at Clever Ghost believe that this beautiful building and its Art Deco heritage should be preserved for future generations to enjoy. We have made the decision to take part in the Strand Arts Centre’s Name a Seat campaign by buying a seat in the soon-to-be newly refurbished building.

We are proud to be able to have a small hand in transforming a much-loved cinema from yesterday into a stunning arts venue for tomorrow, that will benefit the local community for years to come. The building will close in February 2024 and is expected to reopen in mid-2025, in time to mark the Strand’s 90th birthday.

If you would like to find out more about the campaign, you can visit and see how you can help support the Strand Arts Centre. Let’s help keep this wonderful venue as a source of inspiration for many creatives like us down the line.

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