Welcome to The Ultimate Picture Palace Community Cinema!

For decades, The Ultimate Picture Palace has held a special place in the hearts of film lovers in Oxford. Nestled in the heart of Cowley Road, our historic cinema has been a cherished destination, captivating audiences with its diverse film selection and creating a strong sense of community through shared moments of cinema magic.

In 2018, an opportunity emerged when the previous owner, Becky Hallsmith, sadly passed away, leaving The Ultimate Picture Palace up for sale. Based on Becky’s wishes for the business and realizing the immense value that a community can bring to the arts, we made a decision: to transition into a community-owned cinema, entrusting the power and future of this iconic establishment to those who hold it closest to their hearts—you, our loyal patrons and devoted film fans.

In June 2022, thanks to the tireless dedication and unwavering support of over 1,200 cinephiles who purchased community shares, a remarkable milestone was achieved. The Ultimate Picture Palace was bought by The Ultimate Picture Palace Community Cinema Ltd (UPPCC), a Community Benefit Society allowing it to officially become a community-owned business, marking a significant moment in the cinema’s history and securing the future of business.

Our Vision

The UPPCC is now owned and run democratically by its Shareholder Members who elect a Management Committee to represent their interests and secure the future of the business. 

Our Vision is:

● to be a leader in community cinema, with exceptional programming and a bold mission;
● to empower our community to determine the future of its neighbourhood cinema;
● to enable all local residents – families, young people, students, workers and community groups of Oxford – to be uplifted by a love of cinema.

Our Aims

  • To bring the Ultimate Picture Palace ever closer to the heart of our community: to entertain, to inspire and to connect.
  • To ensure that the UPP continues to grow as a thriving part of our vibrant, diverse community, and through community ownership, to significantly expand the social value of the cinema for our community.
  • To entertain with a diverse, thoughtful programme of films from the UK and around the
    world including new releases, classics, and undiscovered gems.
  • To inspire a life-long love of cinema for all, particularly young people, by shedding light on the ideas, stories, and production behind films with Q&As, festivals and other learning opportunities through links with local schools, colleges, and universities.
  • To connect individuals and communities by playing an essential role in social inclusion. We will do this by: providing a safe, friendly space for people from all backgrounds to come on their own or with others and watch a film; providing volunteering opportunities; and facilitating links with local community groups.

Meet the Management Committee

Our Management Committee looks after the governance of our community cinema thereby ensuring it fulfils the aims and objectives as laid out in the share offer document and the business plan. It is responsible for the success of the business, including the financial, legal and reputational health and works with the cinema’s staff to do this. All members of the Management Committee have been democratically elected from within our Shareholder Members. 

Alastair Phillips

Alastair Phillips


I currently serve as Chair of the UPPCC Management Committee. I am a film teacher and writer with substantial experience of leading one of the UK’s top Film departments at the University of Warwick. I have a strong commitment to widening access and social inclusion and have led on developing awareness of the UK’s cultural film sector. Film is all about travel and opening up new worlds and experiences for me. Some of my favourite recent films shown at the UPP include Drive My Car, Hit The Road and Decision to Leave.

James Cateridge

James Cateridge


I am a lecturer in the Film department at Oxford Brookes University and have had the pleasure of working with the fantastic staff of the Ultimate Picture Palace on student-led projects and events for many years. I chose to run for the management committee role in order to cement and further develop the important ties between the cinema and Oxford Brookes, and I am very proud to be closely involved with the cinema at such an exciting moment in its long history. The thing that I love most about the UPP is the community of passionate cinemagoers who have kept it going despite the odds, and who will enable it to flourish for many years to come.

Abi Broom

Abi Broom


I’ve been working in operations and finance in small but growing non-profit organisations for around 15 years, whilst enthusiastically going to the cinema every chance I get. I like films with a strong element of character study that leave me thinking about them for days afterwards, plus I’m a sucker for a well-made documentary. On the Management Committee, I’m the Treasurer, keeping an eye on UPPCC Ltd’s financial stability and our ability to keep the cinema operating as a profitable, sustainable business for the benefit of our local community.

Barney Tallack

Barney Tallack

I have spent 30 years in the charity and social enterprise sector as Trustee, Director and now Consultant to a wide range of NGOs and UK charities. For the first 15 years of my professional life, I was a fundraiser which included leading Oxfam’s Fundraising Innovation Unit, being Deputy Director for Oxfam’s 800 shops including responsibility for the shop property and finance function. I have been a Trustee for 9 UK Charities (plus 3 outside the UK) including several with Commercial as well as charity arms (such as the Fairtrade Foundation and the 100,000 strong Conservation Volunteers). My love of film is a result of being brought up in a cinematically obsessed family, strengthened by being a weekly patron of the excellent independent Cottage Road Cinema in Leeds. When watching a film with my wife and kids I am the family member guaranteed to cry first. I love films in pretty much any genre – as long as it is a good example of that genre – whether that be an indie, gangster, sci fi, heist, period drama or a monster movie (although jukebox musicals less so).

Tatenda Jamera

Tatenda Jamera

After my first visit to the UPP, I made it my home cinema as I was drawn to its story. One of my favourite things about the cinema is the diverse programme which is carefuly curated to cater to the audience. I’m also a director, producer and curator. I run Jam-era Creations, a company which specialises in the production of branded content, music videos and commercials. I also founded Maona (pronounced Ma-ona) which is a Shona word from Zimbabwe meaning ‘you have seen’. We are passionate about others being able to experience African stories through the exhibition and production of the best of African cinema and films from creatives from Africa and its diaspora.

Rebecca Morris

Rebecca Morris

I work for the Old Fire Station as the Head of Bookings and Commercial Development. The key purpose of this role is to enable the organisation to balance its resources and build financial resilience alongside its ambitious aims. These involve supporting artists and working with communities across Oxford, ensuring that it is a valuable city centre resource. I am heavily invested in the cultural scene of Oxford and I truly believe in the power of stories, creativity and the arts. The UPP is one of my favourite places in Oxford! It has such an eclectic programme and is often the only place that screens my favourite genre – horror! I have had the joy of watching Midsommar, Antlers, The Witch, Infinity Pool, and Enys Men on the big screen!

Jamie Blomfield

Jamie Blomfield

For the last 12 years I have managed marketing communications for a leading UK environmental charity as Senior Communications Business Partner. I have engaged a range of stakeholders including the public, local authorities, governments and businesses to grow the organisation through the delivery of successful campaigns. I have extensive experience working in the private sector and bring a commercially minded perspective to developing the UPP in support of its stated aims. I am a lifelong resident of Oxfordshire and a lifelong film fan. I currently apply my skills and experience to a range of local cultural, societal, and voluntary bodies including the Oxford Pedestrians Association (OxPA) and Abingdon Liveable Streets. I am a Steering Group member of the Abingdon Neighbourhood Plan.

Derek Bean

Derek Bean

As an architect my work over more than 30 years centred on the design and development of social housing, community architecture, and public space projects, bridging diverse disciplines and working with housing associations, tenant and residents’ groups, local authorities, and community-based agencies in different inner-city London neighbourhoods. After later training also as a counsellor and phenomenological psychotherapist, I worked with local community mental health services and in private practice. The relationship of space and place to lived experience and individual well-being continues to intrigue me. I am passionate about film and cinema in all forms and genres and favourite directors include Wim Wenders, Andrei Tarkovsky and Naomi Kawase. I am also an enthusiast for cinema buildings as architectural and cultural spaces. Moving to Oxford it has been a huge pleasure to discover and become part of the community that is the UPP, which I’m thrilled to now help support as a member of the UPPCC Management Committee and Capital Project Working Group.

Sharon Norris

Sharon Norris

I was an Open University tutor for 17 years and have lots of experience of working with people from a range of different backgrounds. My main skills include university and college lecturing, programme development and management, and community engagement. I’m also a professional journalist by training and have been a semi-pro musician for most of my life. I am passionate about film and about the UPP—my favourite cinema in Oxford by a long way. The UPP is a real asset to the community in Oxford and I want to be part of its further development, safeguarding its future for years to come, and ensuring it reaches, and is relevant to, more groups within the city.

Katherine Bradley

Katherine Bradley

I have chaired and co-ordinated a variety of campaigns and organisations over many years. These include Oxford CND, the Levellers’ annual event, and various history conferences. I co-founded the Oxford International Women’s Festival and co-ordinated much of its programme during its 34-year existence. I have taught at Oxford Brookes University, the Open University and the Oxford College of Further Education.

Noah Bachoco

Noah Bachoco

I am a real estate lawyer, with nearly five years in the industry. I work with a plethora of different clients from landlords and tenants to landowners and developers. I love films and the UPP is one of my favourite Oxford cinemas. I am glad to see how the community has worked together to keep it afloat and would like to continue to do my part so that the cinema will continue to be enjoyed by generations to come.

You can access Shareholder documents such as minutes from the Annual Members Meetings as well as the original Share Offer document via the private link underneath.

The password for accessing this has been circulated to shareholders via our newsletter but can be requested by emailing: [email protected]

Shareholder Member FAQs

1. How can I access my UPP Community Cinema (UPPCC) shareholder certificate?
Shareholder Members who invested in the UPPCC via Ethex can log in to the Ethex website to view their share certificate: www.ethex.org.uk/login

If you have forgotten your log in details, follow the instructions on the Ethex portal to retrieve them. Please contact Ethex in the case of any difficulties accessing the platform.

For all other UPPCC shareholder member issues, including changes to your email address, please contact the Secretary of the UPPCC Management Committee, James Cateridge, on: [email protected]

2. Can I sell my shares?

No, UPPCC Ltd shares cannot be traded.

3. Can I transfer my shares?

UPPCC Ltd shares are non-transferrable. You can, however, nominate a person via the Ethex platform to whom you wish your investment to be transferred on your death. This only applies up to £5000 in value. If you hold more shares than this, your chosen beneficiary needs to be explicitly named in your will.

4. When can I withdraw my shares?

With community shares, you can withdraw your initial investment and any interest that might have accrued, but only when the organisation is in a financial position for you to do so.

We have set our target for share withdrawals as the beginning of the seventh year after the closing date of the share offer – this will be July 2029. By then, we expect the cinema to be trading profitably enough to be able to allow 5% of share capital to be withdrawn annually.

If you have an urgent need to withdraw sooner than this (for example bankruptcy or terminal illness) you can make an application to the Management Committee, and we will do our best to assist.

5. Can I get tax relief on my investment?

We have received advance assurance for Social Investment Tax Relief (SITR) from HMRC and are working on full approval. We will send out the relevant forms to enable shareholders to claim the tax relief in due course.

6. Do Shareholder Members get a discount on UPP cinema tickets?
As explained in the Share Offer Document, UPPCC Shareholder Members do not receive discounted cinema tickets or discounts on other products, such as the cost of hiring the cinema. This is because the purpose of buying community shares was to become a co-owner in a thriving independent cinema and have a say in how it’s run for the benefit of the community.

Shareholder Members are very welcome to buy an annual membership of the UPP which offers discounts on tickets and other offers. These are available to buy here: https://uppcinema.com/become-a-member/

7. Does the UPPCC offer any special Shareholder Members screenings and events?

Yes, the UPPCC organises a quarterly programme of special Shareholder Member events at the cinema and welcomes suggestions about what shape and form these may take. These will be announced to shareholder members via the regular Shareholder Member newsletter which you will receive by email (please remember to check your junk folder regularly as these sometimes go astray).

8. I would like to join the UPPCC Management Committee. How do I get elected?

All UPPCC Shareholder Members are encouraged to take an active role in the management of the community business. Elections to the Management Committee are held every year as long as there is a place on the committee to fill. All Shareholder Members may stand for election.

9. What is the function of the UPPCC Annual Members Meeting (AMM)?

The role of the AMM, which takes place annually, is to provide an account of the activities of the UPPCC Management Committee over the past year. You will be updated about all areas of activity and policy including the business and strategic planning, the current state of our finances as well as other operational activities. Shareholder Members are strongly encouraged to play an active role in the discussion and shaping of future policy and initiatives. Minutes of these meetings will be stored along with the Shareholder Member newsletter archive on this page. 

10. How can I volunteer at the UPP?

Shareholder Members are very warmly encouraged to get involved with the running of the UPP by volunteering at the bar or stewarding at the door. Please contact the cinema’s Executive Director, Micaela Tuckwell, on [email protected] if you wish to put your name forward for the waiting list.

11. I would like to offer my professional expertise to the UPPCC. Who do I speak to?

The UPP is grateful for all kinds of professional assistance in the running of the cinema and the shaping of the future business. If you have any beneficial professional expertise to offer, please get in touch with the cinema’s Executive Director, Micaela Tuckwell, on [email protected]

12. I have a film/event/partnership suggestion for the UPPCC’s public programme. Who do I speak to?

Shareholder Members are strongly encouraged to play a role in helping the cinema meet its policy obligations to the whole of the Oxford community. We especially welcome engagement with sections of the city’s population who may feel currently underserved by the UPP’s programming and events calendar. Please contact the cinema’s Head of Programming and Marketing, Tom Jowett, if you have any initiatives you would like to consult on: [email protected]