Plaza Cinema

18 Walliscote Road,
Weston-super-Mare, BS23 1AA

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Merlin Cinemas (Official)

Additional Info

Operated by: Merlin Cinemas

Previously operated by: Odeon Cinemas Group, Odeon Theatres Ltd., Rank Organisation

Architects: Thomas Cecil Howitt

Functions: Movies (First Run)

Styles: Art Deco

Previous Names: Odeon Theatre

Nearby Theaters

Plaza Cinema

Constructed on part of the site of the former Electric Theatre/Premier Cinema (it has its own page on Cinema Treasures.). The Odeon Theatre was opened on 25th May 1935 with Jack Buchanan in “Brewster’s Millions”. Built as one of the original Odeon Theatres in the then emerging Oscar Deutsch Odeon Theatres circuit, it was built on a prime corner street position in this sea-side town and was the first of several Odeon Theatre’s to be designed by architect T. Cecil Howitt.

The exterior is dominated by a squared tower that has on its top, a flat slab that is supported on a dozen short rounded columns. The entire facade is covered in cream faience tiles.

Inside the auditorium was rather clean cut with no fancy grille work over the organ chambers. Lighting was concealed in troughs that ran across the ceiling and in three back-lit recesses that surrounded the proscenium opening. Seating was provided for 1,807; 1,174 in the stalls and 633 in the circle.

It was one of only nine of the original Odeon Theatres to be equipped with a theatre organ, in this case it was a Compton 3Manual/6Ranks (with Solo Cello) with an illuminated console and was opened by organist Alfred Richards.

The Odeon was tripled from 23rd December 1973 in the usual configuration of keeping the main circle area as the main screen and dividing the rear stalls into two smaller screens. A fourth screen was constructed in the former front stalls area which opened in June 1991.

The Compton organ was still played at special concerts and could be heard and viewed from the former circle screen. It remained open as a four-screen cinema (one of only a few of the original Odeon circuit theatres still screening films) and served the town residents and the visitors that come for a holiday at the seaside. Current seating capacities given in 2008 are; 552, 104, 122 and 275. The Odeon was closed on 5th June 2023. A final concert on the Compton organ was held on Sunday 21st May at 2pm with organist Michael Wooldridge.

In July 2023 it was announced that the building had been purchased by the Merlin Cinemas chain and it reopened on 15th December 2023 as the Plaza Cinema.

The Odeon has been a Grade II Listed building from 21st August 1986.

Contributed by KenRoe

Recent comments (view all 10 comments)

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on September 17, 2005 at 5:47 am

A 1949 exterior photograph of the Odeon here:
View link

A 1971 exterior photograph here:
View link

Alanuk on April 12, 2006 at 2:37 pm

In the current (2006) configuration the circle is now a separate screen and the front stalls with the proscenium opening, original Odeon clock and organ is screen 4. Organ concerts are held about 5 times per year on Sunday afternoons. A photo taken in 2003 is available here:

woody on April 30, 2007 at 12:50 am

here are a load of shots taken of this amazing cinema taken last weekend, its in very good condition and looks amazing – lots of other nice deco still remaiining elsewhere in the town including the pier
View link

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on June 6, 2007 at 3:34 pm

Another photograph taken in 2007, this is a closer view:
A close-up of the main entrance:

HowardBHaas on July 28, 2008 at 6:00 pm

More photos including interior photos of large auditorium here:

CSWalczak on October 31, 2012 at 4:16 am

Another exterior view of the theatre from 1935 can be seen here.

DavidSimpson on June 29, 2019 at 4:06 am

In July 2018 I was asked by Claudia Materna, at ODEON, for permission to use my March 1998 images in a display the company was creating, at the cinema, to celebrate this historic movie palace. I was only too pleased to provide this, and the history wall, a permanent installation, was unveiled in October 2018. (It is in the upper foyer.) In these days of ever more futuristic, state-of-the-art all-digital multiplexes (such as ODEON’s own Luxe brand) it is heartening that the company is so mindful of its proud heritage. (Similar history walls have been installed at the ODEONs at Salisbury, Exeter and Glasgow Quay.)

DavidKH on May 6, 2023 at 1:37 pm

BBC reports the cinema is due to close as not considered viable (presumably the competition from Cineworld not helpful). It would be great if Everyman or similar could do a York on the site!

Trolleyguy on May 9, 2023 at 9:15 am

More details on the closing here

Alanuk on September 17, 2023 at 11:56 am

On Wednesday 9 August 2023 it was reported that Merlin Cinemas had purchased the cinema that day. The article quoted Councillor Bell who had stated “They’re hoping to reopen the cinema again in the near future and will be developing a short and long-term investment plan to improve the building, including the listed features” and “Merlin has given assurances they will value and promote the organ.”

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