Astoria Cinema

Lichfield Road,
Birmingham, B4

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Astoria Cinema

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Located in the Birmingham inner city suburb of Aston, just to the north of the city centre at Aston Cross. The New Theatre Royal was opened on 7th August 1893 with “Naughty Titania”, a burlesque play. The theatre was designed by Birmingham architect W.H. Ward. Interior decorations were carried out by De Jonge & Co. In 1894, extensive alterations were carried out. It was re-furbished in 1912, when the seating capacity was given as 2,000. The Aston Theatre Royal was closed as a live theatre in 1926.

Architectural firm Satchwell & Roberts designed a new auditorium, and it re-opened on 27th December 1927 as the Astoria Cinema. It operated as a rear-projection cinema, with the projection box built on the stage, 25 feet back from the screen. It was taken over by Associated British Cinemas(ABC) from 7th January 1929. Regent Cinemas, a subsiduary company to ABC, operated the Astoria Cinema from May 1933 until 1935, when it then reverted back to ABC’s control.

The Astoria Cinema was closed on 26th November 1955 with Richard Todd in “The Dam Busters”. It was converted into the Alpha Television Studios for ABC Weekend Television/ATV Television, which made its first broadcast on 17th February 1956. In 1970, ATV moved into new purpose-built studios at Broad Street in Birmingham city centre, and the former Astoria Cinema was demolished. In 1973 new building was erected, initially occupied by BRMB Radio.

Contributed by Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 1 comments)

Mike_Blakemore on February 27, 2016 at 4:28 am

The Theatre had rear projection. When the Tabs needed opening or closing a Projectionist had to cross the stage and use a handle to operate them… Up until the day it closed as a Cinema…

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