History Of The Regent Theatre
The Regent Theatre has been a fixture of Main Street Picton since our inception in 1918. Founded by George Cook, a self-made Greek immigrant, we remain the only purpose-built cinema and performance venue in Prince Edward County.
Not long after opening our doors for the first time with the most talked-about pictures of the day, the demand for movie houses skyrocketed across the country. Cook decided to capitalise on the moment with a massive renovation of the theatre, reopening in 1922 with seating capacity for 1,100 and a new, grander appearance. In 1930, installing over $12,000 in state-of-the-art equipment, Cook readied the theatre for the imminent golden age of talkie cinema, making changes which can still be appreciated to this day.
After many prosperous years, the time following World War II brought for the Regent a steady decline, as more people started driving to Belleville to see movies or staying at home with their new televisions. In 1959 George Cook died but his family kept the business going in spite of declining audiences until 1983 when it was forced to go dark.
Happily, in 1994, The Regent Theatre Foundation, a community-based not-for-profit, purchased the theatre with the support of Edna Pearce Gordon and reopened. In 1999 the building was designated a heritage site, solidifying its legacy as a cultural landmark for the region.
Our mission is to keep the cultural heart of the County beating with engaging, relevant and accessible programming that captivates new generations of locals and visitors alike. We are committed to the preservation of one of the County’s most treasured landmarks, working to ensure that the iconic neon lights of our marquee will continue shining for many decades to come.
As a membership-based charitable organisation we depend on the support of our sponsors, audience and community. We are primarily a volunteer-run organisation with a core staff of two.
If you would like to know more about the history of the theatre, read The Monarch of Main Street by Ian S. Robertson. Available for purchase through our Box Office.