Empire Sutton Coldfield
Birmingham Road and Holland Road,
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Firms: Harry W. Weedon Partnership
Styles: Art Deco
Previous Names: Odeon Theatre, Odeon Sutton Coldfield
The Odeon was built for and operated by Oscar Deutsch’s Odeon Theatres’s Ltd. chain, the 42nd to be built for the circuit. It was designed by Harry Weedon assisted by architect J. Cecil Clavering of the Harry Weeden Partnership.
It opened on 18th April 1936 with Jessie Matthews in “First a Girl”. The cinema is located just outside the town centre on a prominent corner position of the main Birmingham Road at Maney Corner and Holland Road, Maney.
Considered to be one of the best designed Odeon Theatre’s (Odeon Harrogate is an almost exact copy), the low corner entrance is dominated by a high ‘fin’ tower on the left which originally had the word ‘Cinema’ on top. Inside the auditorium seating was provided for 1,600; 1,028 in the stalls and 572 in the balcony. A sleek Art Deco style of decoration was within the auditorium that was illuminated by concealed lighting set into troughs across the ceiling.
It was one of the first of the original Odeon’s to be tripled and became a three-screen cinema from 9th April 1972. The balcony was kept intact with a seating capacity slight increased to 591, while two mini cinemas were created in the rear stalls under the balcony which each seated 132. In 1987 a fourth screen seating 330 was added in the former front stalls area.
The Odeon Sutton Coldfield was one of several Odeon Theatres taken over by the Irish-based Ward-Anderson Cinemas in March 2006. Trading under the Empire Cinemas UK name, it has been renamed the Empire. Seating capacities in the screens are now; 1. 592, 2. 135, 3. 100 and 4. 329. It was closed in March 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In September 2021 the operators Empire Cinemas UK announced that it would remain closed for at least another 9-months while funds were obtained to carry out a refurbishment. On 6th July 2023 it was announced that Empire Cinemas UK had gone into administration and their plans to reopen the cinema had been cancelled.
On 18th November 1998, the then Odeon Cinema was designated a Grade II Listed building.
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