Magic Lantern Cinema, Tywyn.

Magic Lantern Cinema

Corbett Square,
Tywyn, LL36 9DF


Original Venture Of:  Mrs J E Price.

Architects:  George Jones & Son.

Opened:  December 1893.

Original Capacity:  1000.

Opened By:  Dr Frederick Grosholz and his wife.

First Film Shown:  March 1900 by film maker, Arthur Cheetham.

Named Magic Lantern Cinema:  2012.

Building Extant:  Open as a cinema.



“A cinema of considerable charm”

Located between Barmouth and Aberystwth is the town of Tywyn that can boast of having one of the oldest cinemas in Wales.

Mrs J E Price of the Whitehall Hotel decided that a much needed large hall was to be built on a site that was occupied by cottages in Corbett Square. She engaged Aberystwyth architects, George Jones & Son, to designed a building that could accommodate 1000 people. A balcony was included with a wood block floor suitable for dances.  Other social events were to include auctions, the town’s eisteddfod, badminton practice and variety shows. 

Named the Assembly Rooms, the building was opened in December 1893 by Dr Frederick Grosholz and his wife who were handed a silver key to unlock the doors by the architect, George Jones.  A gold brooch was presented to Mrs Price in gratitude by the townspeople for her bold commercial venture in providing a large meeting hall of this quality.

Film was projected at the Assembly Rooms in March 1900 by film maker Arthur Cheetham. His programme included “New Welsh Films”.  Action footage of the Boar War was the main attraction on the bill.  Showings of “all the latest films” here in 1903 included footage of the Gordon Bennett Cup motor race in Ireland.

After the First World War the building was renamed as the Assembly Cinema, then later becoming the Ritz then the Tywyn Cinema. As the building was one of the earliest to show projected films, it was appropriate that a new name,  The Magic Lantern was chosen in 2012.

The building is steeped in cinematic history. However, nowadays there is stunning digital screen presentation, thanks to the impressive Sony 4K (3D) projection system with Dolby 7.1 surround sound. This top of the range technical equipment also enables live streaming direct from the RSC, National Theatre and other live events.

The Magic Lantern is now a fantastic social hub for Tywyn. Typically in 2018 it opened on Christmas Day for a film screening, lunch and carol singing, so that people living alone had a place to meet others. The venue simply oozes cultural and social history as well as considerable charm.

With bar facilities and two stages for live events. The Magic Lantern has actually flourished during the Covid Pandemic and now has an outside seating area and provides drinks and light meals.

The above photograph shows the cinema set up in a Covid friendly manner with social distancing and tables with each group of seats. The staff provide table service for drinks and snacks.

With thanks to Ian Cross for his contribution to this page.