New Vic Cinema
Great Victoria Street,
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The Royal Hippodrome Theatre was located adjacent to the Grand Opera House and (from 1937) across the road from the large Ritz Cinema. It opened on 2nd November 1907 as a variety theatre. It had a 46 feet wide proscenium, a 36 feet deep stage and 14 dressing rooms.
From July 1931 it was taken over by Associated British Cinemas(ABC) and re-named Hippodrome Cinema, but they only operated it for several years, as by December 1938 an independent operator had taken over and it was re-named Royal Hippodrome Cinema.
It was taken over by the Rank Organisation from 28th November 1960 and they carried out a modernisation of the building, which included covering the ornate facade with plain sheeting, which made the building look like a warehouse! It re-opened in October 1961 as the Odeon Cinema.
It was damaged by IRA bombs in 1974 and the Rank Organisation decided to pull out of Northern Ireland. The building was taken over by an independent operator and re-named New Vic Cinema from late 1974. Films continued as well as some variety shows, but the end came in 1987 when it was converted into a bingo hall.
In August 1996 the building was sold for re-development and the bingo operation closed. The Grand Opera House next door expressed an interest in using the building as a second theatre and additional bars and office space, but this never happened. It was demolished in 1998 and an office block built on the site.
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