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Originally one of the Odeon’s in the Oscar Deutsch chain of Odeon Theatres Ltd chain. Designed by architect Harry Weedon (assistant architect in charge was P.J. Price), and opening on Saturday 18th June 1938 with seating for 1,450 (900 in stalls and 550 in balcony).
The design was typical of the circuit style, with rounded corners and faience tiling, the main Odeon sign placed above the five tall windows above the front canopy. The opening film was Jack Hulbert in “Paradise For Two”.
The cinema was taken over by the Classic Cinemas chain on 9th December 1967 and renamed Classic. Classic Cinemas triplexed the cinema and reopened on 1st October 1971, the circle was extended forward to create Screen 1 with 516 seats and the remaining cinemas were created in the rear stalls seating 273 and 122. The opening film in Screen 1 was Oliver Reed in “The Hunting Party”, in Screen 2 Franco Nero in “The Virgin and the Gypsy”, and Screen 3 offering “Danish and Blue”, this small screen 3 remaining showing sexplotation movies.
As business declined, Classic Cinemas sold the cinema to the local Borough Council which took over in May 1976 now renamed it the Llanelli Film Centre.
The Borough Council modernised the upstairs auditorium providing full stage facilities equiping it for stage shows. Screens 2 and 3 now seat 310 and 122.
The cinema operated as Theatr Elli, retaining its unaltered Harry Weedon exterior design, and continued showing first run films very successfully. It was closed by the Council on 13th July 2012, due to the new Odeon multiplex cinema opening in the towns East Gate Centre. The future of the Theatr Elli building is in the balance.
The Theatr Elli was designated a Grade II Listed building in October 2009.
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