7 Clerk Street,
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Architects: William Edward Trent
Previous Names: New Victoria Cinema
News About This Theater
- Feb 11, 2011 — Odeon Edinburgh in danger
- Mar 2, 2010 — Happy 45th, "The Sound Of Music"
- Jan 29, 2008 — Scotland's former Odeon Edinburgh to become boutique hotel
The New Victoria Cinema opened on 25th August 1930 with Ralph Lynn in "Rookery Nook" and was a project of Gaumont British Theatres and Provincial Cinematograph Theatres (PCT). Architect William Edward Trent collaborated with J. W. Jordan in designing this lavish city centre cinema.
Externally the facade was clad in cream faiance tiles and had four Doric columns over the entrance. The extremely wide auditorium was decorated in a semi-Atmospheric Greek Revival style, with the ceiling totally plain which represented a sky and allowed for a cloud machine to give an effect. The side-walls had a series of niches that contained sculptures of the muses of art, music and drama which were designed by artist named Beattie. Ionic columns ran in a colonnade across the rear of the balcony and at the rear of the stalls were a series of twelve private boxes. Seating was provided for 1,226 in the stalls, 772 in the balcony and 60 in the boxes.
The New Victoria Cinema was provided with a 32 feet deep stage, five dressing rooms and a proscenium opening of 40 feet wide. Other facilities included a Wurlitzer 3Manual/10Ranks theatre organ (originally installed in the Embassy Theatre, Baltimore, USA) that was first played by Leslie James. There was also a cafe for the convenience of patrons.
The New Victoria Cinema was modified in 1960 when a new proscenium arch was fitted to acommodate a larger screen. From 6th April 1964 it was re-named Odeon and in 1974 was given a Grade B Listed building status. Converted into a triple screen cinema in March 1982 with 695 seats in the former balcony and two mini’s in the former rear stalls seating 293 and 201. In December 1989 two additional screens were opened, seating 259 in the former front stalls and 182 seats on the former stage.
The Odeon closed on 30th August 2003 and apart from temporary re-opening as a live venue during the Edinburgh Festival it remained shuttered. In 2013 Gerry Boyle (brother of singer Susan Boyle) took over the building to convert it into a live performance venue. The foyer and other areas of the building opened on 1st November 2013 as The Instant Arena. The main auditorium opened in 2014 as a 600-seat venue, but closed within weeks. In November 2015 the empty building was purchased by Stefan King of the G1 Group who operate the Grosvenor Cinema, Edinburgh and the Playhouse, Perth. The future use for the former Odeon is yet to be disclosed.
On 12th December 1974, Historic Scotland designated the Odeon Cinema a Grade B Listed building. It is listed on the Buildings At Risk Register. In April 2012, the building was upgraded to a Grade A Listed building.
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