News | Regent Centre Christchurch

The Regent Christchurch

The Regent Christchurch

22 June 2022

Mission Statement

To provide a professionally run venue for the performance of theatre, music and film. To act as the cultural centre for Christchurch and the surrounding areas. To ensure that visitors to the Regent Centre enjoy the very best customer experience. To encourage and maintain the opportunity for volunteers to support the arts. To develop public access to the performing arts by an appropriate marketing strategy. To enable the development and expansion of the venue by fund­‐raising and grant applications. Establishing and maintaining a Cinema Museum. Showcasing; the history of cinema, projection equipment, film & retail ephemera, and individual cinemas from Dorset and the surrounding area.

(Approved at the agm april 2022)

A welcome from the General Manager 

Thank you for taking an interest in the Regent Christchurch. On this page you’ll find out about our history, the Board, and the mission of the charity. We are a progressive venue looking to serve the people of Christchurch and the surrounding area. I hope to see you at the Regent soon.

Kind Regards, Oscar Sellick-Pilley, General Manager



Staff Photo on the Roof.
  • The Regent opened on Boxing Day 1931 as the town’s cinema, showing The Taming of the Shrew.
  • The Regent retained this important role in the life of the Community for over forty years until July 1973.
  • The Regent was closed as a cinema and then re-opened as the Mecca Social and Bingo Club. 
  • The final cry of ‘house’ was sounded in February 1982. The need for an arts centre in Christchurch had already been well established in the town.
  • November 1982 Christchurch Borough Council purchased the Regent. 
  • A unique relationship was formed between the local authority and a group of over 100 enthusiastic volunteers. 
  • Together, they lovingly restored the Regent to all its early Art Deco glory.
  • The Regent Centre in its present form was finally opened on June 11th 1983 by the actress Dora Bryan.
  • 28th March 2000, a new Studio Theatre was opened, at the rear of the building, jointly funded by the Regent Centre Association and the Council as the Borough’s main Millennium project.
  • During the latter part of 2006, funding was provided by Christchurch Borough Council for a major refurbishment of the Centre. 
  • This included the introduction of  new seats, air conditioning, disabled lifts and loos and the Modernist re-design of the Foyer.
  • In February 2007 the final stage of the major refurbishment began with the re-introduction of a canopy over the front doors for the first time since 1967. 
  • Since 2008 the Regent has been able to use new technology to bring in satellite broadcasts of major artistic events from around the world to the Centre’s big screen. 
  • In April 2012, Digital Cinema was introduced to the Regent Centre to replace the existing 35mm film projector.
  • In 2020 the Regent Christchurch underwent anthor refursbishment, resorting the seats, carpet and colour scheme back to it's original glory.
  • In 2021 35mm film returned to the Regent under the partnership of Dirt in the Gate Movies

The Board

The Regent Centre is supported by a Board of Directors elected by Members of the Company.
Each Board Member can serve a five year term.

Gary Trinder (Chairman)

Gary is a Lancastrian, whose working life up-to retirement was spent within the Defence Industry commencing as an electrical apprentice and progressing through to Director of Operations. He is a Member of the Institution of Engineering and Technology, with a degree in Business Management.
For 18 years he served as Vice-Chairman and Technical Director of Stockport Plaza Trust who own and operate the Plaza Super Cinema and Variety Theatre in Stockport, also registered Charity.

Mark Goldsmith (Vice-Chairman)

Mark was born in London and moved with his family to Christchurch in 1963. His long association with the Regent started almost immediately as he and his sister were regularly ferried to the Saturday morning cinema by his parents, to enjoy ‘Tin Tin’, ‘Flash Gordon’ and of course everyone’s hero ‘The Lone Ranger’!
Mark has a passion for both cinema, theatre and live music, and having finally taken early retirement, joined the Regent Centre as both as a technical volunteer, backstage and front of house usher. Mark is a member of the local Cadenza choir and a keen motorcyclist.

Chris Root

Chris has been involved with the Regent Centre for a number of years, as a tech volunteer and as part of Christchurch Gilbert and Sullivan Society. He was previously on the board for a number of years and was chairman in 2017.

Local to Christchurch, Chris works in Accounting and is also involved locally in the scouting movment. 


Les Del Nevo

Les retired in 2009 when he was Marketing Director for a mobility company. Moving to Barton on Sea from Bracknell he quickly found a new niche in amateur theatre with Highcliffe Charity Players in their production of Happy as a Sandbag and has been a member of Milton Musical Society for the last 10 years. During this time he has played in many of their productions here at the Regent.
10 years ago he became a volunteer working up to be a Duty Manager working on regular Monday evenings.He is a very enthusiastic member of the team, and was delighted to have been re-elected back onto the Regent Board in 2019.

Phil Stevens

Philip worked for Rediffusion in London before moving to Christchurch in 1985, working in the photocopier business. He joined the Regent in 2003 as a technical volunteer working on amateur and professional shows and then trained as a projectionist showing 35mm films for 10yrs until digital cinema came in.
He then started the Regent cinema museum, which features a working 35mm projector, and many old cinema artefacts. Its tours are very popular in the community.
Philip visits many old theatres as a member of the Cinema Theatre Association and also volunteers with the Shelley Theatre in Bournemouth. He enjoys volunteering with a great team of people at the Regent, as well as boating, classic cars and spending time with his grandchildren.

Janet Townend (Company Secretary)

Born and brought up in Twickenham, her first holiday was in a chalet on Mudeford Sandbank and her father taught her to row in Christchurch Harbour at the age of 6.
At University she studied Biochemistry and was pleased to get a job back on the South coast at Poole Hospital. Whilst there she studied computing and ended up running the results service for all the NHS laboratories in the area. Janet met her husband Kit in Christchurch in 1975 and supported him while he and others got the Regent Centre off the ground from 1982.
She has been Secretary of CADArts, the arts umbrella body for the area, for several years. It was this body that with others persuaded Christchurch Borough Council to buy the Regent, create an apron to the stage and provide some back stage space so that live shows as well as films could be put on. Kit walked with sticks and was delighted to find the Jubilee Sailing Trust had a Tall Ship, The Lord Nelson, that they could both sail on. She is still a supporter. Janet currently plays in 4 music groups, on various instruments.

Christian Knight

Christian was born in Bournemouth and has worked in the technical Theatre industry since the age of 17. He started working as a part time stage-hand at the Pavilion Theatre in 1975. Quickly moving to the Playhouse Theatre as Electrician in 1976 and then onto the Pier Theatre as assistant stage manager. From 1986-1989 he worked at the Royal National Theatre in London returning to Bournemouth as Technical Manager for the Pier Theatre until year 2000 when he successfully became the Resident Stage Manager for the BIC and Pavilion later changing the title to Technical Coordinator.
From 2022 having taken retirement Christian continues to support the Pavilion in technical administration. Christian enjoys travel, theatre, cinema and gardening, he is delighted to be on the Regent Centre Board and looks forward to supporting the organisation as much as he can.

Cllr Mrs Sue Bungey

Councillor Sue Bungey was born and educated in Wimbledon and worked for Rothmans of Pall Mall as assistant secretary to the Chief Executive.
Sue married Colin in 1968 and moved to Surbiton. Three years later they moved to Chessington before moving to Christchurch in 1979 where they bought a guest house. During the last 35 years Sue worked at Burton School and Uplands School as the Headteacher’s PA. Sue has been involved in the local community as a Governor at the Priory School and Twynham School serving as Deputy Chairman.
Sue was Chairman of the local Resident’s Association and the Joint Residents Association. She was a governor for 11 years at the Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals. Sue was instrumental with other ladies in forming the Women’s Breast Care Fund (Tulip Appeal), raising money initially for the Women’s Health Unit at Bournemouth Hospital helping ladies cope with breast cancer by providing the little extras which the NHS were not able to offer, and later for the new unit at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital where the Jigsaw Building was built. Sue was elected to the newly established Christchurch Town Council on 1st April 2019.
The Regent Centre is both a Limited Company and a Registered Charity.
The audited annual accounts are available for inspection on both the Company and Charity websites. 
You can also download the latest audited accounts below.
Company Number:  03941287 
Charity Number: 1089084