New Vic Cinema
Great Victoria Street,
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Architects: Bertie Crewe
Previous Names: Royal Hippodrome Theatre, Hippodrome Cinema, Royal Hippodrome Cinema, Odeon
The Royal Hippodrome Theatre was located adjacent to the Grand Opera House and (from 1936) across the road from the large Ritz Cinema. It opened on 2nd November 1907 as a variety theatre. It had a 46 feet wide proscenium, a 36 feet deep stage and 14 dressing rooms.
From July 1931 it was taken over by Associated British Cinemas(ABC) and re-named Hippodrome Cinema, but they only operated it for several years, as in July 1938 their lease expired and an independent operator had took it over and it was re-named Royal Hippodrome Cinema.
It was taken over by the Rank Organisation from 28th November 1960 and they carried out a modernisation of the building, which included covering the ornate facade with plain sheeting, which made the building look like a warehouse! It re-opened on 16th October 1961 as the Odeon Cinema.
It was damaged by IRA bombs in 1974 and the Rank Organisation decided to pull out of Northern Ireland. The building was taken over by an independent operator on 21st April 1975 and was re-named New Vic Cinema. Films continued as well as some variety shows, but the end came in 1987 when it was converted into a bingo hall.
In August 1996 the building was sold for re-development and the bingo operation closed. The Grand Opera House next door expressed an interest in using the building as a second theatre and additional bars and office space, but this never happened. It was demolished in 1998 and an extension to the Opera House was built on half of the site which opened in 2006. The other half of the site at the corner of Grosvenor Road was taken over to build the (now 5*) Fitzwilliam Hotel.
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