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The Dukes breaks box office cinema records

John Freeman

Lancaster’s award-winning Dukes cinema is celebrating its busiest ever year. The independent cinema has seen 42,000 people through the doors in the past year and 700 screenings.

The Dukes cinema is the only one in Lancashire that operates within a professional producing theatre and Programmer, Johnathan Ilott thinks there’s several reasons for its success.

“We’ve had more screenings than usual and people seem to like the variety of our films, our friendly staff and that there’s no adverts before the films,” he said.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri screened earlier this year proved to be the most popular film ever shown at The Dukes, ousting The Lady In The Van from the top spot.

Also popular this year have been regular family friendly cinema screenings thanks to support from the Film Audience Network.

As well as enjoying recordbreaking attendances, The Dukes also scooped the Northern Soul Award for Cinema of the Year with the judges describing it as ‘a truly community focused experience.’

The cinema shows films daily as well as many Stage on Screen events. Its Movie Mornings, which include a free tea or coffee and pastry, are particularly popular. Parent & Baby screenings take place regularly too as do films for people with dementia as part of The Dukes A Life More Ordinary programme.

Large audiences are expected to continue over the next few months thanks to multiple screenings of the blockbuster Mama Mia: Here We Go Again (PG) and a National Theatre Live screening of King Lear starring Ian McKellen.

During August and September, The Dukes will showcase the region through a season focusing on films shot in Lancashire as part of Our North, a cinematic celebration of what it means to be Northern.

This season begins on 18th August 2018 with Whistle Down The Wind (PG) filmed in the Trough of Bowland; The Entertainer PG) on 25th August, shot mainly in Morecambe; Brief Encounter (PG) on 1st September featuring the famous scenes at Carnforth Railway Station, and Bhaji On The Beach( 15) on 8th September, filmed mainly in Blackpool.

• For more information on cinema screenings and events, pick up a free cinema guide from The Dukes, visit or call the Box Office on 01524 598500.