Odeon Bournemouth

27 Westover Road,
Bournemouth, BH1 2BZ

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Odeon 1 Bournemouth

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The Regent Theatre was built for the Provincial Cinematograph Theatres chain(PCT). PCT had just been taken over by Gaumont British Theatres when it opened on 13th May 1929 with the silent film "Two Lovers" starring Ronald Colman. The Regent Theatre was wired for sound when it opened.

Designed by architect W.E. Trent who was assisted by the local architectural firm Seal & Hardy, the original seating capacity was for 2,267 in stalls and circle. The facade contains a series of seven colonaded arches, behind which was located the first floor restaurant which could seat 300 diners. The auditorium was decorated in a French Renaissance style and had painted panels on each side of the proscenium, the work of artist Frank Barnes.

The Regent Theatre was equipped with a Wultitzer 2Manual/9Ranks theatre organ which was opened by Reginald Foort. Full stage facilities were provided and the safety curtain had a charming landscape scene painted on its front, again, the work of Frank Barnes.

The Regent Theatre was re-named Gaumont from 22nd August 1949 and continued until 16th November 1968 when it was closed for twinning. It re-opened on 15th July 1969 as Gaumont 1 & 2 and the building continued to be successful.

It was one of the last of the Gaumont Theatres to be re-branded Odeon when the Rank Organisation were standardising the names of all their cinemas. The name Odeon appeared on the building from 30th October 1986 and in March 1989 the downstairs Odeon 2 in the former stalls was closed for sub-dividing into 4 screens. These re-opened as Odeon 2,3,4,5 in June 1989. Seating in these screens was:359, 267,119 & 121. Odeon 1 in the former circle remains intact today as a 757 seat cinema which has a very large and very deeply curved screen. In February 1995 the 140 seat capacity Odeon 6 was opened in the former restaurant area.

Contributed by Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 27 comments)

CSWalczak
CSWalczak on October 31, 2012 at 4:06 am

Here is an interior picture of the theatre when it opened as the Regent in 1929.

Marcus17
Marcus17 on February 18, 2013 at 2:25 pm

Hello all,

Does anyone have any more information on what the future holds for the Odeon Bournemouth cinema?

It is a truly Beautiful cinema with screen one being unique in its own right. I remember up until several years ago it had fantastic golden curtains, which were illuminated by ceiling lighting where fine colours of yellow, blue, and red changed just before the projector started. I am told that the screen masking is no longer used nor do the curtains move. In fact, blue light is only used now as pictured on this website. A great disappointment!

I do really hope that the Odeon Westover Road, Bournemouth can stay and not be redeveloped into ‘presentation rooms’ like what you see in some other dull cinemas. The screen one in the ABC cinema up the road is also a ‘proper’ cinema. They both form part of the town and my family and I have enjoyed them for many years. They are historically irreplaceable.

Marcus17
Marcus17 on February 18, 2013 at 3:12 pm

Hello,

There is a video on utube that shows Screen 1 of the Odeon Bournemouth back in 2001.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ayJmn2lmxM

8thFloorJon
8thFloorJon on February 19, 2013 at 10:47 am

Would be a tragic loss to see this go, 150 seat black boxes are not the same! Good luck with the campaign to save it.

echodaz
echodaz on February 20, 2013 at 2:16 am

I’m chief reporter at the Daily Echo in Bournemouth and I’ve only recently been made aware of this thread. If anyone’s interested in commenting in the paper – preferably with real name attached – I’d be very interested to hear from you. I have in mind a news piece about those who don’t want to see the Odeon and ABC disappear and also perhaps a feature on the history of the venues. Darren Slade, .uk Or via Twitter: @echodaz

keiths
keiths on February 21, 2013 at 2:40 am

Although not a local myself, I have a long family history with the town, and have spent a lot of happy times in the area over the last 60 years. To contemplate the replacement of this historic cinema with the anonymity of an underground multiplex doesn’t bear thinking about. It’s a real shame that its operators don’t use its uniqueness as a major selling point. What does their PR department DO with itself all day?

Marcus17
Marcus17 on March 17, 2013 at 1:20 am

People who are interested in saving the Bournemouth Odeon & ABC from being moved & redeveloped can post comments, pictures, and raise discussion on Facebook. Search; ‘Save Bournemouth Odeon’ on Facebook or Google it.

FanaticalAboutOdeon
FanaticalAboutOdeon on May 11, 2013 at 4:38 pm

GilesEngland – Really good to hear about the presentation standards at the Gaumont in such detail – especially the use of the act-drop/house curtain and the precision of the non-sync music. What a sense of occasion and excited anticipation would be created by clever use of tabs and lighting and how “conspicuous by their absence” are such things in today’s uninspired multiplex rooms. At a time when cinemas ought to be pulling out all the stops to make the experience very different from today’s increasingly sophisticated TVs, the opposite seems to be happening – naked screens, lighting like an airport lounge, masking unused, “No thanks!”. I have a home cinema with variable masking, house and screen tabs, three-colour circuit pageant lighting, LED concealed lighting and projected clock. Friends and neighbours love the atmosphere and you should see children’s expressions when colours change and fade as the curtains open and the picture appears as if by magic. Most multiplexes are conveyor belts for the consumption of popcorn and films – in that order – designed by those with neither flair nor imagination but who are capable of feeding numbers of seats and exits, speaker positions, air conditioning and screen dimensions into a computer model. What comes out at the other end is a cinema with no theatrical connection whatsoever; bland, cold, uninspiring and without “magic”.

MikeJC
MikeJC on June 20, 2013 at 3:20 am

The organ is long gone, but in the thirties, for a time, the audience was entertained with organ and piano duets played by Kevin and Edith Buckley and at least one 78rpm record of their playing at this theatre was issued by HMV – Chopsticks on one side the the Gavotte (I think!) from Mignon by Ambroise Thomas on the other. In the sixties the BBC broadcast a weekly programme, “Melody for Late Evening” played on the Wurlitzer by Ronald Brickhill, the last resident organist.

Marcus17
Marcus17 on March 31, 2014 at 4:29 pm

Hello all,

The Save Bournemouth Odeon Campaign (“Striving To Keep Cinema Theatrical”) is growing strength.

Can ex-staff of this building or the ABC down-the-road please contact the campaign a.s.a.p. We have already heard from a few but we would like to meet more people and chat cinema. We have a function planned.

Cheers :)

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