The Rembrandt Virtual Tour - Stage and Backstage


We are grateful to the family of the late Derek Phillips for their permission to use much of the text and images from the website that was set up and run by him. Derek was very interested in local history and his community and a short biography can be viewed on the introductory page.

The Stage Area


Front Stalls 1938
Front Stalls 1938
Image Credit: Premier Bioscope Collection

The Rembrandt was not equipped with full stage facilities. There was no fly tower and the stage was only 14 ft deep. The only lighting appeared to be the footlights and maybe a spotlight from the Box. Having said that the footlights had manually controlled four circuits and could be so they must have been quite impressive.

Advert for Richard Tauber and the London Philharmonic Orchestra
Advert for Richard Tauber and the London Philharmonic Orchestra
Image courtesy of the Phillips family © 2007

Stage dressing consisted of three sets of side 'legs', with two top drapes. A festoon curtain was raised to reveal a second set of curtains, which opened to expose the screen, which had a fixed aspect ratio of 1:1.33. A set of main curtains (tabs) could be drawn across the entire stage. The orchestra pit, in front of the stage had an adjoining instrument storeroom. Three dressing rooms were provided backstage.

A staff photo of C1945.
A staff photo of C1945.
It must have been hard finding space for that grand piano when not in use.
Image Credit: Pearl Eggleton

The news that the former Rembrandt cinema in Ewell has closed its doors for the last time reminds me of a Sunday at the beginning of the war when I spent eight hours inside the building, by far and away the longest time I have ever spent in a cinema.

It came about because at that time the cinema had a fine waitress-service restaurant and offered occasional Sunday afternoon concerts by leading orchestras. On the day in question I attended a concert by the London Philharmonic, then had a meal in the restaurant, returned to the auditorium to enjoy the programme of films. The whole lot would have cost about 10 shillings - 50p today - or about a quarter of my week's wages.

R J Heathorn
Epsom

The Herald Wednesday May 13 1998
The occasion is not known but the lady is Mrs Long the Manageress
The occasion is not known but the lady is Mrs Long the Manageress
Image Credit: Pearl Eggleton

The stage with its organ
The stage with its organ
Image Credit: Bill Shiels

In 1988 it looks a bit bleak when lit by camera flash, the plain tabs were not designed to be seen in white light. The orchestra pit had been boarded over and the front stalls area (known as "the Pit") empty. Nice fresh paint up the side of the proscenium arch though!

Immaculate service records were kept......!
Immaculate service records were kept......!
Note the space vacated by a winch;
not quite sure what that would have been for,
maybe for the side legs.
Image courtesy of the Phillips family © 2007

Backstage
Backstage
Image Credit: Bill Shiels

Although taken for the purpose of demonstrating how NOT to clutter up an area; this picture shows a number of features of interest:
  • We can see the screen frame of the original screen and the unpainted area that was behind it.
  • A chamber behind the screen housed the loudspeaker, which was accessed for maintenance from a door on the outside.
  • The banner lying against the back wall of the stage was for the film "Can't Stop the Music" and had been fixed to the front of the cinema earlier in the year the picture was taken (1981).
Backstage Clutter
Backstage Clutter
Image Credit: Bill Shiels

From the point of view of Health & Safety things don't get any better at the other end of the stage.

It is likely that the screen frame was the one installed in 1954 for Cinemascope. Unfortunately when the cinema was twinned the screen had to be lifted to give better sightlines for the audience. As this was not budgeted for in the plans the screen was lifted by a team of projectionists onto a couple of old loudspeaker cabinets. A new screen frame was not fitted until 1984.

The extra height always made it hard to stop the picture hitting the top of the proscenium arch

Backstage Rooms


These rooms are included in order to retain the spirit of an "access all areas" tour. The photos were taken after the cinema had closed its doors for the last time and are typical of the condition of backstage rooms at most cinemas that survive.

The Backstage Corridor
The Backstage Corridor
Image courtesy of the Phillips family © 2007

The passage leading from the stage to the three rooms. Just about the only interesting point to make is the original 1938 paintwork.

Room One
Room One
Full of tat that should have been skipped
Image courtesy of the Phillips family © 2007

Room 3
Room 3
Image courtesy of the Phillips family © 2007

The curved wall on the right is the back of the plaster mural in the auditorium. The light shades and chandelier units were salvaged from various cinemas by myself with the hope of reinstating the original look of the rear circle/No 1 screen. Eight years after I left the cinema they were still exactly were I left them.

Room 2?
Room 2?
Image courtesy of the Phillips family © 2007

A short period of use as a photographic darkroom resulted in the installation of an unofficial third screen in the end backstage room. This was created for experiments with projected overlaid titles.

At the end of the backstage corridor was a iron ladder leading to a void room. For some reason a few iron seat standards and a few of the original canopy letters were left in this room. Maybe by someone wishing to preserve them after the conversion in 1971. Examples of these were salvaged for Bourne Hall Museum.

Text written by the late Derek Phillips


The Tour


Foyer Projection Suite Box 2 Lighting
Rear Stalls Cafe Documents and Plans
Front Stalls Stage / Backstage Facade
Circle Foyer Roof Managers Office
Circle Boiler House / H&V Plant Twinning
Projection Suite Box 1 Car Park Memories


Link to the Rembrandt History Page


Boring legal stuff relating to this page

As explained earlier the text and images for this page came from the website run by the late Derek Phillips. To preserve his work and allow ready access to it, it was decided to merge his local history pages into the Epsom and Ewell History Explorer website. Of necessity some minor changes to the text were necessary and the layout has been changed to fit in with the house style of Epsom and Ewell History Explorer but in essence the web page is Derek's.

The family of the Late Derek Phillips makes every effort to ensure that the information on this web page is accurate. However, they cannot accept responsibility for any loss or inconvenience caused by reliance on inaccurate material contained in this site. Links to other sites are provided for your convenience, the Phillips family cannot give endorsement of them. They cannot be responsible for any information contained on other websites.

All material on this site (including text and images) is copyright. Every effort is being made to ensure that all sources are credited. Where no credit is given then it should be assumed that the copyright in any particular item resides with the Phillips family or that the Phillips family should be contacted to ascertain who owns the copyright before text or photographs are reproduced elsewhere. Educational use is permitted provided that no changes are made to the material and Derek Phillips is acknowledged as the source.

Commercial usage is prohibited unless formal written permission is obtained beforehand.



 Art
 Family History
 Health
 Map
 Nature
 People
 Places
 Society
 Sources
 Technology
 Trade
 Transport
 War Memorials

 Contact
 Sitemap
 What's New
 Home

Email:


Donate to The History Centre
Derek Phillips
Derek Phillips
Chessington Road
Chessington Rd
Hogsmill River
Hogsmill River
Rembrandt
Rembrandt
Rembrandt Tour
Rembrandt Tour
Ruxley Lane
Ruxley Lane
West Ewell History 1
West Ewell 1
West Ewell History 2
West Ewell 2
West Ewell History 3
West Ewell 3
West Ewell War Memories
West Ewell War