Stage Door Theatre
78 W. Marlands Road,
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Located in the city centre at 127 Above Bar. Built for Associated British Cinemas(ABC) and designed by their in-house architect William R. Glen, the Forum Cinema opened 22nd June 1935. It had 1,909 seats in stalls and circle together with a cafe, there was also a stage (48 feet wide proscenium) and seven dressing rooms. Decorative grilles were prominent either side and above the stage opening, concealing the pipes for the Compton 3Manual/10Ranks organ – one of the first instruments with the Melotone unit which became standard subsequently.
The Forum Cinema was damaged during the war and was closed for several months.
In 1971 it closed for 5 months to allow twinning to take place Screen 1 had 688 seats and Screen 2 had 439. A third screen was added in 1981 in the former cafe, but this was not a success and closed in 1989 – this had just 83 seats, a low ceiling and was video projection. The rest of the cinema – now re-named Cannon – closed in 1991.
After a period of disuse it was converted into a large bar in around 2000, known as the Square Balloon. By 2019 it was a nightclub named Switch. There is a 135-seat fringe theatre named Stage Door Theatre which is located upstairs in the former cafe area, using an entrance at the rear of the building at 78 W. Marlands Road. This presents cabaret & burlesque.
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