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The box office is in the ground floor corner entrance. A stairway or lift takes patrons up to the first floor where there is a large bar/diner/lounge (where a “Spielburger”(!) can be purchased, alongside the usual pizzas, hot dogs and spicy chicken wings) and there is the entrance to Screen 5. Classic film posters decorate many of the walls. Screens 1 to 4 are on the next floor up.
The Arts Centre re-opened in May 2016 after a full refurbishment, which saw a bar/lounge being created in former storage space on the first floor. A side lounge is fitted with a screen and projector for informal, small-scale screenings.
When I visited, in October 2016 for a screening of “Life on the Road”, starring Ricky Gervais, I was given a very warm welcome by founder Dan Ellis and his colleague Barbara. Dan was inspired to set up this not-for-profit, community interest company-run cinema when he noticed that people were having to travel some distance away from the town to the cinema. The Jam Jar Cinema, on the first floor of a former Job Centre, is certainly staffed by enthusiastic volunteers. There is a very pleasant bar/lounge. In the auditorium, the original 42 previously-unused Odeon ‘Premier’ seats have, since opening, been joined by four two-seater settees across the front, increasing the capacity to 50. With such a relatively small capacity many screenings sell out. There are also accessibility issues, as the only way up is via a steep flight of stairs. For these reasons, Dan is on the lookout for larger, more accessible premises. However, in the meantime, he and his team are doing a super job, and I wished him every success.
During my visit, in October 2016 to see “Deepwater Horizon”, starring Kurt Russell and Mark Wahlberg, I had a nice chat with the very friendly staff, and was informed that the seating capacities are: Screen 1:268; Screen 2:67; Screen 3:47; Screen 4:180; Screen 5:173; Screen 6:147 and Screen 7:111.
Sadly, on a visit to Hartlepool in October 2016, when I was hoping to meet up with Adam and Hayley again, I discovered that they have closed their Move Café. As can be seen from my photographs, it was by then O'Malley’s Irish bar. The partitioning that created the cinema space has been removed, resulting in one single bar space.
Researching the internet, it appears that the Café closed earlier in 2016, with Adam saying he had started a film production company and a new YouTube subscription venture. I recall him having an interest in filmmaking, and I wish him well with these new ventures.
Further to Buffer’s comment, on a visit to the town in October 2016 I noted that the only film shows at the Coliseum were fortnightly screenings by Whitby Film Society. As Buffer says, regular commercial screenings now take place at the Whitby Pavilion.
I had a very pleasant evening at the Regent on Sunday 16th October, watching “Dirty Dancing”, starring Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey. In the afternoon I had a look around the antiques/collectables centre in the former stalls, before heading upstairs to the former circle in the evening. Since re-opening in July, older films have been screened two or three times a week, mainly Friday to Sunday, from DVD using a projector suspended beneath the balcony.
The 124 seats are originals that have been refurbished. They are set out in blocks either side of the central aisle, with 9 rows with 12 seats (6 either side of the aisle) and 8 sets of double seats along the back row. The individual seats are separated by small tables, handy for drinks and snacks. Owner Richard Taylor has done a terrific job – the place is immaculate – and I wished the enthusiastic duty manager all the best for the future.
When I visited in September 2016, with the Cinema Theatre Association, the Medica Palace was very much open. The manager told me a dispute with the landlord had led to the closure in 2015, but that had only been a temporary situation and the cinema soon re-opened.
As can be seen from my photograph, by September 2016 the hairdressers had moved out and a florists had moved in.
I have a diary note that I saw “The Poseidon Adventure” at the Olympia on 9th August 1973. I can remember nothing of this visit, but it does confirm there was some film activity in its later years.
By August 2016 Freedom Church had indeed moved into the building. Rather amusingly, the Odeon logo “FANATICAL ABOUT FILM” is still visible over the entrance!
‘The Celluloid Ladies’, relief sculptures that flanked the Odeon name on the cinema’s frontage, were saved during demolition. They were restored in August 2015 and have been relocated, with an information plaque, to an outside wall of the town’s Brewery Quarter, which contains the Cineworld and Screening Rooms cinemas. See my photos.
By August 2016 (see my photos) the Palace had been converted into a library and Customer Services for Caerphilly County Borough Council. The frontage had been cleaned and restored, but it was unclear how much of the auditorium block survived, as a One Stop convenience store had been built to the left of the Palace, obscuring the rear of the former cinema.
By August 2016 the Plaza had become home to retail outlet The Original Factory Shop (see my photos).
In July 2016 the seating capacities are as follows: Stag Theatre: 450 seats, plus an additional 140 that can be placed on the stage for performances ‘in the round’; Cinema Screen 1: 129; Cinema Screen 2: 120 and the Stag Plaza Suite: 150 (seated, theatre-style). A total of 989 seats.
By the time I visited, in June 2016, the building had become The Play House, a lounge bar.
The seating capacities of the cinemas and theatres are: La Scala cinema: 138 seats; The Playhouse cinema: 86 seats; Empire theatre: 840 seats and One Touch theatre: 247 seats (223 in the stalls, 24 in the balcony).
In a nice touch, the two cinemas and the Empire theatre are named after former cinemas and a cinema/theatre that entertained the city’s inhabitants for many years. There are heritage information panels outside the auditoriums.
The two cinemas are known collectively as The Robertson Screens in commemoration of the generous donation made by the Robertson Group, the main contractor for the building of the cinemas in 2007. The two auditoriums are back to back, with a common projection room between them.
In June 2016 I saw “The Neon Demon”, starring Elle Fanning and Christina Hendricks, in Screen 5. In a nice touch, as can be seen from my photographs, some of the projection rooms have glazed rear walls, so the projectors and projection equipment can be seen by patrons.
When I visited the Cinetoile in June 2016 I was told the cinema opened in 2001, and that the seating capacities were: Screen 1: 299; Screen 2: 299; Screen 3: 299; Screen 4: 129; Screen 5: 225 and Screen 6: 226. A total of 1,477 seats.
During a visit to Geneva in June 2016 I met Didier Zuchuat, owner of the Cinerama Empire, at his other cinema, Cine 17. He told me that the cinema that was demolished to make way for the Empire opened in 1923 as Cinema Colibri. It was enlarged and renamed Cinema Pelican in the early 1950s before closing in 1965. As noted above, its replacement, the Cinerama Empire, opened in 1967.
At the Cinerama Empire I saw “Money Monster”, starring George Clooney. This is a truly superb cinema, the largest single screen in the city.
On a trip to Geneva in June 2016 I visited Cine 17 to see Woody Allen’s latest film “Café Society”. This is an absolutely superb cinema, extremely luxurious, with very comfortable, fully reclining seats. The auditorium is attractively bathed in changing lighting, principally in red, green and blue. In a lovely touch, a former doorway has been converted into an alcove containing coat hangers – no doubt very useful for inclement weather!
During my visit I was fortunate to meet cinema owner Didier Zuchuat. As well as also running the Cinerama Empire, he has an enthusiast’s interest in cinemas (for many years he was a member of the UK’s Cinema Theatre Association) and we had a lovely chat about all things cinema before I headed off to my next film – at the Cinerama Empire!
During a visit to Geneva I met up with Didier Zuchuat. In addition to being a cinema operator (Cine 17 and Cinerama Empire) he has a wider interest in cinemas. He told me that Cinema Auditorium Arditi started life, in 1957, as Cinema Le Paris, with 898 seats. At some stage it was renamed Le Paris Cine Disney. Later on, it was renamed Cine Manhattan. That closed in 1988. The current building is named after its benefactor, writer and lecturer Metin Arditi (through his Arditi Foundation).
When I visited Geneva, in early June 2016, the Cine Lux was closed for renovation.
The Pathe Rex is situated in the basement of the Confederation Centre. I was told by the cashier that the seating capacities are 400 in Screen 1 and between 130 and 170 in Screens 2 and 3. She added that the Centre is due to be revamped in 2018, for a grand re-opening in December 2019. She hopes the cinemas will remain, either completely unaffected or after being refurbished.