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On a visit in September 2014 I was delighted to see the former cinema all spruced up and open as a retail unit.
On a visit in September 2014 I was delighted to see that the frontage had been tidied up and painted to resemble the cinema as shown in an archive photograph helpfully displayed together with other heritage information (yes, the ‘windows’ are merely painted on!).
That information confirms this was the Palladium. It opened in 1937 and closed in May 1969, the final film being “Planet of the Apes”, starring Charlton Heston.
During a visit in September 2014 I was kindly given a copy of the opening programme, starting 28 July 1937. (See scan.) The building is referred to as “The Cinema”, although the 1940 Kine Year Book has it listed as “Picture House”.
By September 2014 (see my photograph) the building had been closed and boarded up, and all signage had been removed.
The Orchard Gallery (and Cinema) was closed when i visited in September 2014.
By September 2014 – see my photograph – the cinema had seven screens. According to its website, the largest (“Studio 1”) has 305 seats, while the smallest (“Screen 7”) has 145. All have Dolby sound systems.
On a visit in September 2014, by which time the cinema had been re-branded Odyssey, I attempted to clarify the ownership situation. According to the manager it has always been owned by Village Cinemas, and was only leased to Vue, then Storm. It is now operated directly by Village Cinemas. (The licence is in the name of Village-Theatres 3 Ltd). This is despite news reports in May 2006 stating that Storm Cinemas had bought the multiplex outright for €7m, but supported by news reports in February 2010 that Patrick O'Sullivan, owner of Storm Cinemas, was trying to get his lease annulled because the previous operator had failed to disclose loud music and vibrations from a nearby bar and nightclub that had led to complaints from cinemagoers! The case was decided against him, the judge remarking that Mr O'Sullivan was using this issue as a ploy to get out of his contract. So it seems clear that Storm never owned the cinema, which is now operated directly by Village Cinemas. (In April 2008 Entertainment Enterprises Group and Odeon had acquired the other Storm cinemas, all situated in Ireland.)
As can be seen from my photographs, the former entrance down the side alley has been completely blocked off, and the entrance is now on University Square. Presumably this was done during a major refurbishment that took place in 2003. Unfortunately, the powers that be will not allow poster boards or other advertising by the new entrance, leaving a rather nondescript doorway! By way of some small compensation, the poster cases at the entrance to the side alley (round the corner, off College Street) are still utilised, although only regulars will be aware of them!
As befits its location, this is an extremely luxurious cinema. And the entrance canopy is especially imaginative and attractive. However, it might only be temporary. The staff told me that it will run for at least six or seven months, after which it will be reviewed. And, even if successful, it might close if Selfridge’s require the space for other functions or exhibitions.
On a visit to Dublin in August 2014 I noted that the building is shuttered and apparently closed. See my photograph.
According to the ‘Islington Tribune’ (Friday 22 November 2013), Oscars had its licence revoked the preceding Monday due to breaches of licence conditions. These were unspecified, this cinema being briefly referred to in an article primarily about an adjacent sex cinema, the Abcat, which also had its licence revoked. (See the entry for the Abcat for further details.) The management at Oscars had said they would appeal. However, in August 2014, when I took my photographs, the cinema was still closed, with all signage removed.
According to an article in the ‘Islington Tribune’ (Friday 22 November 2013) the Abcat had its licence revoked the preceding Monday following a series of breaches of its conditions. Trading Standards officers posing as customers had witnessed “obscene and disorderly behaviour” inside the cinema, the cinema was appearing to operate without membership rules and a sexually explicit film which had no certificate was offered for sale to the officers. Furthermore, the management had been ordered to pay £1,094 in fines and costs at Highbury Magistrates' Court only the previous month after pleading guilty to licence breaches, and a police statement said the management had “shown a total disregard for the conditions of the licence, despite warnings”. Comedy writer and film historian (and local resident) David McGillivray (author of “Doing Rude Things”, a profile of the UK’s sex film industry) spoke in favour of the cinema at the hearing. Management said they would appeal, but in August 2014, when my photographs were taken, the premises were shuttered and the signage had been removed.
The undersides of Screen 1 and 2 are just visible.
In late 2013 it was announced that two further screens were to be added, and the area in front of the cinema would be fully pedestrianised. However, by August 2014, neither of these schemes had taken place.
See my photo taken in August 2014. The cinema was still standing, albeit in the process of demolition.
Further to Ken’s comments above, the Theatre Royal duly had a £10m refurbishment in 2007, designed by Tim Foster Architects. See my photos taken in August 2014.
By August 2014 the Regal had closed as a Wetherspoon pub and was occupied by a restaurant called Merge, specialising in Far Eastern cuisine (Singapore, Japan, China, Korea, Thailand). See my photo.
During my visit in August 2014 I was told that it was hoped that the two screens in the basement, that, as Ken says, have been adversely affected by water damage, will open “very shortly”. The seating capacities of the other six screens, all above first floor level, are Screen 3: 275, Screen 4: 81, Screen 5: 177, Screen 6: 282, Screen 7: 105 and Screen 8: 116. This is a very imaginatively designed, spacious multiplex run by very friendly staff. Indeed, my screening (of the Luc Besson thriller “Lucy”) was personally introduced by a member of staff, who hoped we would enjoy the film (and reminded us to switch off our mobile phones – which seemed to work, as all the patrons complied – very unusual these days!). This was a nice touch; I was told that all screenings are introduced in this manner. In addition, Light do not charge an on-line booking fee and there is no extra charge for 3D screenings, aside from the purchase of the glasses, which can then be retained for future use. This is all very impressive from a newcomer to the UK’s multiplex scene (Light’s only other multiplex, at least for the time being, is at New Brighton, on the Wirral).
This really is an amazing survivor! I visited on 4th July 2014 to see the reissue of The Beatles' “A Hard Day’s Night”. A large, very appreciative audience thoroughly enjoyed the film, breaking out into spontaneous applause at the end. The cinema is what I describe as ‘endearingly ramshackle’, with four rows of two-seater sofas at the front and rows of truly ancient (possibly even 1942 original!) seats behind – and free-standing plastic seats at the end of every other row, to bump up the capacity! There’s also only one toilet closet for each sex, meaning queues before the feature comes on! There had been a live music event in the afternoon, and movies are just one aspect of the entertainment on offer. But there is a super, really imaginative line-up: long may this wonderful gem survive!
I spent a very pleasant afternoon at the Cinemark on 29th June 2014 watching “22 Jump Street” in Screen 8. It has a rather plain frontage, but the foyer is large and spacious, with splendidly colourful decoration above the concession stand and the entrances to the screens. The auditoriums are extremely comfortable and the staff friendly and welcoming. It gets my recommendation!
I visited the Sunset 5 in July 2014 to see “Snowpiercer”, an apocalyptic fable based on a comic book, which I imagine is a typical ‘Sundance’ limited release offering. I’m pleased to say the 5pm show attracted a reasonable crowd. The cinema is in superb shape, with friendly staff and a really welcoming atmosphere. I have added a number of photos, including two of the upstairs lounge, no doubt a very nice area to relax in as part of a visit.
I went to see “Malificent” last night, the recent re-working of ‘Sleeping Beauty’, starring Angelina Jolie. The feature was preceded by a very elaborate live magic show starring Greg Wilson which really added to the occasion. I’ve added some photos I took. They aren’t that great (I was in the back row of the circle) but hopefully they give an idea of the really elaborate lighting and stage effects. All this, and the film was in 3D (which was excellent), for only $13 for me as a senior (and only $16 for adults) made this a wonderful evening’s entertainment. And there was also a comprehensive display of props from the film! Just a shame the audience (for the 7.30pm show) was a bit sparse, with most of them in the stalls and only about half a dozen of us in the huge rear circle.
The cinema is on the right!
By the time of my visit, in June 2014, the building was being used as a household goods shop.
Further to the above comments, the new multiplex in the Centro Culturale Candiani opened in December 2013 and, on my visit to Mestre in June 2014, there were no films being advertised outside the Cinema Teatro Corso. Presumably, as predicted, it closed when the multiplex opened.