Picturehouse Central

Great Windmill Street and Shaftesbury Avenue,
London, W1D 7DH

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Cineworld Shaftesbury Avenue at the Trocadero in November 2008

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Located in the Trocadero Building, which opened as the Trocadero Palace of Varieties Theatre on 30th October 1882. It later became the Royal Trocadero Music Hall and then the Eden Theatre which closed on 24th February 1894. Over the following decades the building went through many uses, was gutted internally and partially re-built and the site expanded to include a Lyons Corner House restaurant and cabaret room.

A 7-screen multiplex cinema opened on 1st November 1991 as the MGM Trocadero Cinemas. Seating was originally provided for 1,393, later reduced to 1,293. The entrance was originally on Great Windmill Street and the cinema was reached via escalators which led to an upstairs foyer which had hanging on its wall, a 100 years old painted mural by artist Gerald Moira depicting an Arthurian scene. This had originally been hung in the building when it was a restaurant.

MGM were later taken over by Virgin, who in turn were taken over by UGC and they operated the cinemas until mid-2005 when Cineworld took control. By 2008, the foyer and box office area had been transferred into an a space previously occupied by the Pepsi IMAX Cinema inside the Trocadero Centre, with entrances on Coventry Street and Shaftesbury Avenue.

The Cineworld was closed on 21st September 2014, to be converted into a 7-screen art house cinema, operated by Picturehouse Cinemas (now a subsidiary of Cineworld). It was designed by architectural firm Panter Hudsmith Architects. A new entrance was created at the corner of Great Windmill Street and Shaftesbury Avenue. A ‘soft’ opening of some of the screens began in mid-June 2015, with the official opening on 19th June 2015. The main Screen 1 is equipped with 70mm and digital 4K DCP. plus Dolby Atmos sound. Screen 2 has a wall-to-wall floating screen. Opening films included:“London Road”, Jurassic World", the Indonesian genocide documentary “The Look of Silence” and Tod Browning’s 1932 circus drama “Freaks”.

Contributed by Jack Coursey, Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 26 comments)

CF100 on October 4, 2014 at 1:35 pm

That does sound good, perhaps the hotel conversion will finally put paid to the Trocadero being no-man’s land as it has been for a decade…!

davepring on October 20, 2014 at 4:02 am

With both the Curzon and Picturehouse on Shaftesbury Avenue I think Odeons art house properties further down the Avenue and at Panton Street will quickly close.

Billy on October 24, 2014 at 8:35 am

Although accessing a screen often involved going up a frustratingly large number of escalators, it’s a still a shame it closed. It had formed a good partnership with the Cineworld Haymarket down the road in that Shaftesbury Avenue would normally show the big, populist blockbusters and Haymarket the smaller art-house films, although sometimes one would be in the other – the last film I saw here was ‘The Congress’ a few weeks before it closed. The disinterest of some of the staff was apparent who probably already knew they were losing their jobs, but I did like the random appearance of a Dalek by one of the escalators, constructed by a staff member for the 2013 50th anniversary episode and left there ever since. Wonder where that is now.

Poor Haymarket now has a challenge in what films it can fit into its three screens. The Fulham Road/Chelsea cinemas have a similar sharing of content between them (situated minutes walk away from each other) but the distribution seems a bit more random there, both big and smaller releases shared between both cinemas.

CF100 on November 9, 2014 at 6:10 pm

Have not seen a film there in some time and last time I did was not impressed by what I can only describe as an outdated and run-down multiplex. It isn’t closed for good though, it’s being refurbished into a Picturehouse and it will have its own entrance.

zappomatic on April 8, 2015 at 4:10 am

The Dalek is now down the road at Cineworld Haymarket.

SethLewis on April 8, 2015 at 4:47 am

The Odeon Covent Garden was not a bad conversion from the ABC 1&2…The Panton Street needs to go…now! The most uncomfortable theatre in London

CF100 on May 31, 2015 at 6:27 pm

Due to open this Summer.


Some drawings of the bar area etc. Looks hideous!

zappomatic on June 18, 2015 at 5:08 am

Off to the launch event tonight – looks great in the photos!

SethLewis on July 12, 2015 at 3:02 pm

A great experience…a lovely ground floor cafe…well laid out mezzanine entrance with multiple ticket and snack points…pick and mix, donuts, and another bar so a great place to meet and chill before and after The cinema layouts appear to be similar to the old Cineworld but with new seats Saw Love & Mercy the Brian Wilson story great projection and sound No adverts Despite the high prices this is a great grown up place to see a movie

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