Built for a local company, it was acquired by the Jackson Withers Circuit of Cardiff in 1943. The proscenium was 34 feet wide, there were 3 dressing rooms and a cafe and ballroom above the entrance foyer.
The Plaza was then taken over by the Rank Organisation in 1976/77 who applied for a bingo license which was refused. An offer to purchase the cinema by the Cornwall based WTW Group was turned down in March 1977, the building eventually being acquired by a Somerset businessman who added a second screen in the cafe area seating 175.
The cinema hit hard times in the 1990s with attendances dwindling, and entered receivership in November 1996. It was subsequently closed on safety grounds by Carrick District Council, leaving Cornwall’s only city without a cinema.
20 years after they had unsuccessfully opened negotiations to purchase The Plaza, WTW Cinemas acquired the freehold of the premises in May 1997 and immediately began an extensive reconstruction and refurbishment of the building. The modernisation programme enabled The Plaza to reopen on 10th July 1998, with patrons showing their approval with attendance levels exceeding expectations. In 2016 a new screen was added at the top of the building as the former café was transformed into screen 5 – ‘The Lemon Suite’. Further details below.
In recent years the Plaza has received the RAAM UK Independent Cinema Of The Year for 2006 and was runner up in 2009.
In 2013 the technical team were voted UK Technical Team Of The Year by the BKSTS and certificates were presented to the team at a prestigious award ceremony at the London headquarters of Dolby Studios.
In May 2014, The Plaza received the Best Cinema Award at the What’s On Cornwall Awards Ceremony at the Eden Project, voted for by readers of ‘The West Briton’, ‘Cornishman’ and ‘Cornish Guardian’ newspapers. As recently as June 2016 WTW Cinemas were recognised as Cinema Partner Of The Year at the More2Screen ‘MAFTAs’ recognising their commitment in the delivery of event cinema and live transmissions.
The Cinema currently has five screens, all of which offer state of the art sound and vision equipment. Screens one to four have wheelchair access, with screens one and four on the first floor and accessible via a platform lift (weight limit applies), and screens two and three on the ground floor. Screen five has no wheelchair access but films are rotated each week so there each film is played in an accessible screen (contact the cinema for details). Hearing boost systems are also available and both autism friendly and subtitled screenings are also shown (for both check with the cinema for details). All screens are fully air conditioned.
The Plaza is fully licensed enabling drinks to be taken into the screens at certain times.
All screens are now equipped with Digital NEC projection bar The Lemon Suite which has a Barco projector, and full Dolby Stereo Surround Sound. Screen 1 has 7.1 Dolby Stereo whilst screen two has the capability to show 3D movies through the Real D 3D projection system. Screen 2 also has a 35mm projector, enabling the cinema to show 35mm presentations.
After taking over The Plaza in 1997 it has been the long term ambition of WTW Cinemas to complete the Plaza with a 5th screen. This finally came to fruition in July 2016 with the opening of The Lemon Suite, in the vacant former cafe area of the building on the second floor. Constructed in just 29.5 working days, the screen is fitted with a Barco DP2K-6E projector and Datasat AP-20 processor handling sound and automation. The sound is courtesy of Dolby 5.1 Dirac Theatre Optimisation Surround Sound. The screen is Blu-Ray and DVD compatible as well as having the ability to sync up powerpoint presentation/Skype conferences and the like. The Lemon Suite was formally opened by the Mayor Of Truro, Cllr. Rob Nolan.
In January 2013 The Plaza commenced live satellite transmissions of theatrical shows, concerts, opera and ballet. These have proved very popular enabling Cornish audiences to see shows from venues such as The Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, The National Theatre in London, Bolshoi Ballet, The Globe Theatre and many more in the comfort of the Plaza without having to travel long distances. Up to date details of live transmissions can be found on the ‘What’s On’ page of the website. In 2014 The Royal Opera House announced that The Plaza is in the top ten best attended independent cinemas in the UK for their live transmissions.
Film critic and newly appointed Plaza Patron Mark Kermode is a regular visitor to the cinema and hosts 35mm screenings at The Plaza, a cronology of Mark’s visit’s can be found here > Mark-Kermode-Presents
After one such screening, there was a presentation of a cheque for £1000 to Save the Children on behalf of WTW Cinemas. The money, raised over a period of time at screenings hosted by Mr Kermode was gratefully received by a representative of Save The Children South West Branch. Pictured are Mark Kermode, David Williams (Director WTW Cinemas) & Eileen from Save The Children South West Branch.
The Plaza continues to host many regional premieres and organises a series of specialised series of programmes under the ‘Sundays at 8’ banner (during the autumn, winter & spring seasons).
In 2015 the Plaza has also played host to the premiere of Poldark including live transmission on BBC Spotlight and a Q&A with the stars and director of the show. Pictured are the stars of Poldark in the foyer at the Plaza: Aiden Turner (Ross Poldark), Eleanor Tomlinson (Demelza), Heida Reed (Elizabeth) & Jack Farthing (George Warleggan)
The cinema has also hosted the Roughcut 90 Second Film Challenge in association with O-Region and Dogbite Studios, giving local film-makers the opportunity to see their films on the big screen.
The Plaza opened in February 1936, and has been operated by WTW Cinemas from July 1998 to present. Uniquely it is a completely ‘local cinema’ as the Owners, Management and Staff are all either born, educated or live in Truro, a Cornish Enterprise for One And All!
Screens 1/2/3/4 are accessible to wheelchair users. Access to Screens 1 & 4 is via platform wheelchair lifts. Please note, the lifts have a total maximum lifting capacity of 205kg.
Please note however we can only accommodate one wheelchair per screen per performance.
We politely request that disabled patrons book tickets via our telephone booking line on 01872 272894 during opening hours (16:45-21:00). This will help to ensure that we are fully able to meet your individual requirements.
All screens have sound enhancement (Infra-Red Systems) for the hard of hearing.
All screens are equipped with Subtitling systems. Programme details advertised weekly.
All WTW Cinemas accept the CEA Card, for more details please visit www.ceacard.co.uk
Telephone: 01872 272894 (at busy times an answer machine may be used)
(Box office is open half an hour before the first performance of the day, and closes at 9pm approx)
24hr automated information line: 0871 2003304
Plaza Cinema Truro,
69 Lemon Street,