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Working Lives UK: Projectionist

Alan Foster is part of a dying breed. For 100 years, projectionists have been lacing up the film, dimming the lights and drawing back the curtains.

But now cinema is changing and in a drive to reduce distribution costs, traditional projectors are being replaced with digital substitutes, leaving projectionists like Mr Foster surplus to requirements.

"Now you just press a button and the thing goes 'til the end of the film," he says.

Happily for Mr Foster, some cinemas still believe in the traditional ways and it's at the Hyde Park Picture House, a beautiful 98-year-old cinema in north Leeds, that Mr Foster has found a home for his talents.

While the cinema has invested in a digital projector it still retains two traditional film projectors and Alan has worked here for the past 11 years. He is part-time and earns £7.80 ($12) per hour.

Leeds can lay claim to a piece of film history. In 1888 Louis Le Prince recorded what are thought to be the first moving images captured on film. Today, Mr Foster and the Hyde Park Picture House are the proud custodians of the city's cinematic heritage.

"I think it (the cinema) is very important to the community and people come from all over the country to see us, because it is quite unique."