10-17 Gloucester Place,
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Located close to the famous Brighton Pavilion, this was a construction for a local independent consortium headed by E.E. Lyons, who built several Astoria Theatres in southeast England seaside towns. The Astoria Theatre opened on 21st December 1933 with Charles Laughton in “The Private Life of Henry VIII”.
It had full stage facilities and a spectacular Art Deco style interior decoration scheme. A Compton 3 Manual/8Ranks organ with illuminated console was installed and opened by organist Guy Hindell. The Astoria Theatre was taken over by Associated British Cinemas(ABC) chain in February 1935.
The stage was infrequently used for live shows up until 1958 when the theatre closed for renovations which installed a vast 70mm screen in front of the old proscenium, removed the organ, and curtained the impressive auditorium.
The balcony steppings were altered and a new projection suite constructed at (and into) the rear balcony.
Long runs of such films as “Earthquake” ensued and the cinema continued successfully until just after the other ABC house in town was quadrupled in 1976. The Astoria Theatre closed on 7th May 1977 with Barbara Streisand in “A Star Is Born”. It became a Coral Bingo Club. This lasted until approximately 1996, when it was operated by Gala Bingo Clubs, after which the Astoria Theatre has stood empty and unused.
In 2001, it was bought for around 1 million Pounds, with plans to be restored (not known if to original design) and reopened as a live (mainly concert) venue. However, these have stalled, and the building was sold again for 4 million Pounds. It still sits empty and unused into early-2013, when plans were approved to demolish and build an office block.
The Astoria Theatre is a Grade II Listed building.
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