Our History

Did you know the Showroom is housed in a former car Showroom?

Our beloved building has enjoyed a varied and exciting past. Just take a look at our timeline ...


1936: The building opens as Kennings car showroom


1960s: Roof extension is added

1970s: The building is closed as a garage

car showroom

1983: Sheffield Council acquires the building

showroom 80s

1989: Sheffield Media and Exhibition Centre Limited is born

1989: The Showroom Project launched by Sir Richard Attenborough

Launch of Showroom project 1989

future box office

1990: Completion of initial building work by Sheffield City Council

1994: First Sheffield International Documentary Festival (Doc/Fest)

1995: Opening of Showroom Cinema's Screen 1 & 2 by Sir Sydney Samuelson, the first British Film Commissioner. First films shown: Woody Allen’s Mighty Aphrodite & Hal Hartley’s Amateur

1998: Opening of Showroom Cinema's Screen 3 & 4 by Pete Postlethwaite

Building is complete

Cinema 4

1999: Showcomotion young people’s film festival held over 15 days

2002: Voted the favourite independent cinema of Guardian readers

box office

2004: The Children’s Media Conference is born from Showcomotion, focusing on the future of children’s media and bringing together hundreds of international delegates

2005: Sheffield Adventure Film Festival (ShAFF) begins, celebrating adventure, travel and extreme sports filmmaking

2005: The Constant Gardener becomes the Showroom’s longest run film, showing from October 2005 to May 2006

2006: Arctic Monkeys video filmed on the roof

2007: Voted Best Cultural Venue in Sheffield's Exposed Magazine Awards.

2009: First Celluloid Screams Horror Festival

2009: Chris Morris’ Four Lions shoots scenes on the Showroom’s rooftop

2011: The King’s Speech – the highest grossing film at the Showroom’s box office to this date, with nearly 14,000 attendees

The King's Speech

2012: Becomes one of the British Film Institute’s Youth Film Academies.

2014: Recognised as the cultural leader for the region with the award to form Film Hub North, part of the BFI’s Film Audience Network

Doc/Fest recognised by Academy Awards as an Oscar-qualifying festival; around 3500 delegates attend. Becomes third largest documentary festival in the world

2015: Named one of the 12 Coolest Cinemas in the country by Culture Trip

Showroom cinema building

Celebrating our 20th anniversary and launching our fundraising appeal to help refurbish our cinema screens

20 birthday showroom

2020: Our 25th anniversary!

2021: We made it to the #1 spot on Time Out's 'The 22 best things to do in Sheffield', as well as ranking #43 in their list of 'The 50 best cinemas in the UK and Ireland'.


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