Article One: The Story

Article One: Story

We are storytellers. This time, it goes like this:

Concerning a small miracle, performed in wartime: On 18th March 1941, the National Picture Theatre – a cinema in Beverly Road, Kingston-Upon-Hull – was bombed. Each of 150 people in attendance, gathered for a screening of Charlie Chaplin’s film ‘The Great Dictator’, survived – no fatalities.

We are storytellers. The story is ‘true’, but insofar as it is true, it gives us very little, almost nothing to go on. Out of a preliminary research, other details emerge, and these inform the context in which we have chosen to work. We know that the site was neglected for decades until the ruin was awarded heritage-listed status in 2007.We know that this award acknowledges the fact that the ruin is amongst last extant examples of a civilian building damaged during the Blitz). Its future will be the future of the remaining facade, and whatever it might permit entry to. A proposal has been submitted that would see the site become apartments and a retail complex. These plans have been met with opposition from the National Civilian WW2 Memorial Trust, who have in turn proposed to turn the site into a memorial garden and education centre.

In response to the site, its history – and its uncertain future – and to reconsider Chaplin’s legacy through the story of the NPT – we have issued ourselves the following directive and submitted our own proposal

‘Build a monument to Charlie Chaplin (at the National Picture Theatre, Hull)’.

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 -Simon Bowes