Odeon Westover Bournemouth
37 Westover Road,
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Architects: William Edward Trent
Firms: Seal & Hardy
Styles: French Renaissance
Previous Names: Regent Theatre, Gaumont Theatre
The Regent Theatre was built for the Provincial Cinematograph Theatres chain(PCT). PCT had just been taken over by Gaumont British Theatres when it opened on 13th May 1929 with the silent film "Two Lovers" starring Ronald Colman. The Regent Theatre was wired for sound when it opened.
Designed by architect William Edward Trent who was assisted by the local architectural firm Seal & Hardy, the original seating capacity was for 2,267 in stalls and circle. The façade contains a series of seven colonnaded arches, behind which was located the first-floor restaurant which could seat 300-diners. The auditorium was decorated in a French Renaissance style and had painted panels on each side of the proscenium, the work of artist Frank Barnes.
The Regent Theatre was equipped with a Wurlitzer 2Manual/9Ranks theatre organ which was opened by Reginald Foort. Full stage facilities were provided, and the safety curtain had a charming landscape scene painted on its front, again, the work of Frank Barnes.
The Regent Theatre was re-named Gaumont from 22nd August 1949 and continued until 16th November 1968 when it was closed for twinning. It re-opened on 15th July 1969 as Gaumont 1 & 2 and the building continued to be successful.
It was one of the last of the Gaumont Theatres to be re-branded Odeon when the Rank Organisation were standardising the names of all their cinemas. The name Odeon appeared on the building from 30th October 1986 and in March 1989 the downstairs Odeon 2 in the former stalls was closed for sub-dividing into 4 screens. These re-opened as Odeon 2,3,4,5 in June 1989. Seating in these screens was:359, 267,119 & 121. Odeon 1 in the former circle remains intact today as a 757 seat cinema which has a very large and very deeply curved screen. In February 1995 the 140 seat capacity Odeon 6 was opened in the former restaurant area.
The Odeon was closed on 9th February 2017. In January 2023 it was announced that the building would be gutted internally and converted into flats.
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