Capitol Cinema

116-118 Queen Street,
Cardiff, CF1 4EY

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Odeon Theatres Ltd., Paramount Pictures Inc., Rank Organisation

Architects: R.S. Phillips, J.D. Wride

Firms: J.H. Phillips & Wride

Previous Names: Capitol Theatre

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News About This Theater

Capitol Cinema

The 3,158-seat Capitol Theatre was a great theatre which opened on 24th December 1921 with Hugh E. Wright in “Nothing Else Matters”. It had a 45ft wide proscenium and the stage was 10ft deep. There were five dressing rooms. was equipped with an organ manufactured by S. Dalladay of Hastings. Built for an independent operator, it was taken over by Paramount in 1931 (leased). The building also had a ballroom, three restaurants, a banqueting suite and a snooker room. In 1938 Paramount installed a Hammond Lafleur electronic organ. It is thought that the original organ was removed and broken up during World War II. It was taken over by Odeon Theatres in August 1941 (leased) and finally purchased by the Rank Organisation in April 1964.

The Capitol Cinema had many famous stars appear on its large stage, including Shirley Bassey, Tom Jones, Bill Haley & The Comets, Danny Kaye, The Bay City Rollers and on 7th November 1964, The Beatles.

Closed on 21st January 1978 with the X-rated double bill programme: Chai Lee in “Yellow Emmanuel” and “The Street Killers”. The Rank Organisation applied for a Bingo Club licence, but the city council refused. It was demolished in February 1983 and the 5-screen Capitol Odeon Cinemas were built on the site, opening in August 1991 (now Premiere Cinemas it has its own page on Cinema Treasures)

Contributed by James Ruttley, Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 15 comments)

David Lloyd
David Lloyd on February 25, 2008 at 4:07 pm

I only went there once as a child and have dim memories of it. One thing though that a couple of other patrons have told me about itwas that the roof could open, and often would in the summer. I’ve heard this a couple of times and was wondering if anyone knew if it was true or not?

geoffjc on November 15, 2008 at 7:56 am

Local author Gary Wharton’s book “Capitol Days” published in October 2008 contains further information and anecdotal evidence based on his long standing interest in this cinema.

AdoraKiaOra on December 4, 2008 at 10:47 am

I have just read the above book ‘Capitol Days’ (£9.99) and it is a great and easy read, full of great stories and facts about this wonderful theatre.
Cardiff made a big mistake by not investing in this building.
Bloody councils!

edithapearce on March 28, 2009 at 2:53 am

In the heydays of this cinema between 1955 and the late 1960’s, the manager of the cinema was Bill Hall. Probably one of the best publicists and managers the Welsh Cinema industry ever knew.

Jeffrey Morris
Jeffrey Morris on July 19, 2009 at 3:27 am

The Capitol was a dominant mammoth building in the heart of the Cardiff shopping area. Living in the valleys we would usually go to the surrounding cinemas within this industrial area, on one occasion only did we visit the Capitol cinema in Cardiff and I was mesmerised. My Father decided that we would visit the Capitol to see THE SOUND OF MUSIC. It was without a doubt an experience, even at such a young age I was in love with the cinema, it’s buildings, its presentation and the cinema experience in general.

Later visits to the city as a teenager would always involve passing by this structure and I do recall advertising for double bills and live concerts by groups such as the Osmonds, Bay City Rollers and so on.

A huge building that surely ought to have been saved and put to use in the Principality as a showpiece live event venue.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on April 30, 2010 at 7:06 am

A vintage photograph of the Capitol Cinema:
View link

Michael Williams
Michael Williams on August 28, 2010 at 7:46 am

Many years ago I was a third at the Olympia in Cardiff and I was great friends with the third in the Capitol (Dennis Pratt)
(He replaced me at the Olympia when I joined the RAF) we both had usherettes as girl friends, I was with Joyce and Dennis met and Married Jean (Lovely Girls) Dennis went on to marry Jean and later became a film editor with TWW. Jean andd dennis both passed on recently But I know both of them would have had wonderful memories of this theatre! in memorium.

allanevans on December 13, 2012 at 5:06 am

I remember this splendid theatre well.think i saw my very first film there .Do anyone else remember the very unique fragrence of the Capitol.It was what i can only describe as a rich velvety smell.

Bekadoo on January 10, 2015 at 10:13 am

Does anyone remember a spitfire in the foyer for the film Angels one five in 1952-53 or know where I can find any info about it ??

jchap on May 17, 2018 at 4:13 pm

It was a sad day when they demolished this beautiful theatre. My friends an I saw many great artists there in the early seventies, including The Moody Blues, Roxy Music, Donovan, and, my personal favourite, The Sensational Alex Harvey Band (totally nuts but brilliant) aah happy days!

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