A campaign to restore London’s landmark Regent Street cinema has been launched after the $1.6m (£1m) from the MBI Al Jaber Foundation.

The foundation, which promotes relations between the Middle East and the international community, is working in partnership with the University of Westminster on the project.

The cineme was originally part of the Regent Street Polytechnic and hosted the UK’s first screening of moving pictures in 1896. It was last used as a commercial cinema oin 1981, and has since been employed by the University as a lecture hall. 

Geoffrey Petts, vice-chancellor of the university, said: “ The early films shown in the Regent Street Cinema were educational, connecting Londoners with the world in new ways. We want to re-open the doors to new audiences, and continue connecting cultures.” 

The MIB hopes that its contribution to the £5m fundraising campaign will support its own work. The revived cinema, in addition to showcasing student and international films, will double as an educational forum to host a public lecture programme and cultural exhibitions.