Astoria Theatre

New Dock Road,
Llanelli, SA15 2EG

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Astoria Theatre

In Llanelli, South Wales, the New Dock Cinema opened in May 1913. Built by Mr T. Thomas, it could accommodate 1,500 patrons.

Presumably that capacity was reached in part through the use of wooden forms in the cheaper areas as, by 1922, it had reduced drastically to 842.

The stage was 12ft deep, behind a 30ft wide proscenium. For the frequent variety turns there were three dressing rooms.

Around 1931 (presumably coinciding with the advent of the ‘talkies’) the New Dock Cinema closed. In July 1932 it re-opened as the Astoria Cinema, by then owned by West of England Cinemas Ltd. It had been fitted with a Western Electric(WE) sound system.

By 1937 the local film society was meeting at the Astoria Cinema (for how long is not known).

In early-1950 the cinema was refurbished. It re-opened that March, now renamed the New Astoria Cinema. However, the film shows were beginning to struggle, and, in 1952, wrestling was introduced to supplement the on-screen attractions. Eventually live shows began to predominate, and, by the 1960’s, it was more usually known as the Astoria Theatre.

However, the building soon moved over to bingo, with the Astoria Bingo and Social Club opening in September 1961.

By the time I visited, in June 2006, the club had closed and the building was boarded up. It was demolished a few years later.

Contributed by David Simpson
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