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Odeon Cinemas Group (Official)
Operated by: Odeon Cinemas Group
Architects: Charles John Phipps
Functions: Movies (First Run)
Previous Names: Gaiety Theatre, Gaiety Picture Theatre, Classic Cinema, Cannon, MGM, ABC
The Gaiety Theatre opened on 1st August 1882 and was designed by noted theatre architect Charles John Phipps, in association with the local architectural firm Cross & Wells. The auditorium, which seated 1,600 in stalls, circle and balcony levels, was hidden from view from the street by a decorative Victorian commercial building.
On 14 May 1932 the Gaiety Theatre closed to live shows with a production of “The Desert Song”. It was converted into a cinema and the auditorium was completely altered, loosing 500 seats in the process. It was operated by the local Randolph Richards circuit and re-opened on 12th December 1932 with Conrad Veidt in "Rome Express" and Laurel & Hardy in “The Music Box”.
In 1966, the Richards circuit was sold to Classic Cinemas chain and the Gaiety Picture Theatre was re-named Classic Cinema from 1967. In May 1971, it was converted into a twin screen cinema opening screen 1 in the former circle and front stalls had 767 seats and screen 2 in the rear stalls had 165 seats. It then passed to the Cannon Group and was re-named Cannon, when a third screen was added in 1984. It then became MGM for a short while. A management takeover gave it the ABC name in June 1996 and in around 2001, it was taken over by Odeon Cinemas Group and re-named Odeon. Now with 4-screens, the seating capacities are: 129, 176, 151 and 127.
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