Curzon Soho

93-107 Shaftesbury Avenue,
London, W1D 5DY

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Curzon Soho

Viewing: Photo | Street View

This cinema in Shaftesbury Avenue opened in February 1959 as the Columbia Cinema, leased to Columbia Pictures as an outlet for that studio’s films. It was sunk into the basement of a large office block and had 734 seats, a huge screen, and (strangely) supporting pillars – although these were down the sides of the single tier auditorium and did not interfere with sightlines. At ground level there is a very generous sized foyer.

Classic Cinemas chain took over the lease in 1982 but failed to make a go of the newly renamed Classic Cinema and it became the Premiere Cinema with an art-house policy. This was also short lived and eventually it was operated by Curzon who again renamed it Curzon Shaftesbury Avenue and made a big success of the cinema.

Eventually in 1998 it was deemed too large and sub-division into a three screen complex took place. This was expensively done, to the plans of architectural firm Panter Hudspith Architects and the resulting cinemas – screen 1 with 250 seats, screen 2 with 130 seats and screen 3 with 110 seats – remain popular and continue to present a wide choice of Independent films.

Contributed by Ian Grundy

Recent comments (view all 9 comments)

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on June 26, 2004 at 2:06 pm

The Columbia was built on the site of the bombed out Shaftesbury Pavilion/Gaumont News Theatre of 1912. The new cinema was originally going to be a sister theatre to the Curzon Mayfair and had the same architectural firm of Sir John Burnet, Tait and Partners. The architect in charge being H.G. Hammond. Columbia Pictures took over the lease during construction and it opened as the Columbia. It was equipped to show 70mm and Todd AO films.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on December 24, 2005 at 7:05 am

A recent exterior photograph of the Curzon Soho:
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ErikH on May 1, 2006 at 3:14 pm

I visited the Curzon Soho last week for a screening of the French film “Lemmings.” Interesting film, but what I found most notable was that “Lemmings” was presented (in the largest auditorium of the Curzon Soho) in DLP without any promotion in the local press that the Curzon engagement of “Lemmings” was presented digitally.

A classy arthouse—-far superior to its equivalents in NYC such as the Angelika and Lincoln Plaza.

Ian on August 18, 2006 at 10:22 pm

and by day in the same month :–

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scott99 on October 15, 2008 at 7:00 pm

I worked as an usher there for a few months in the late eighties. The management used to run it along the lines of a theatre, and it was always a very highbrow crowd. The auditorum was all in blue, and the seats were extremely comfortable for the time. A shame to see it sliced and diced, though am not suprised. It was rarely very busy, though the new improved version seems to be doing a roaring trade in DVDs and carrot cake!

woody on February 15, 2011 at 3:10 pm

press ad from august 1982 when it reopened as the Classic Shaftsbury Ave, with slightly less classy programming than todays

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