Majestic Theatre

78-80 Bondgate,
Darlington, DL3 7JT

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DavidSimpson on May 13, 2019 at 10:51 pm

On Thursday 9th May 2019, passing Darlington with Gene Sorkin, I paused at the Majestic primarily to take a look at the refurbished exterior. However, venturing inside, we got talking to a young lady, Colette, in the box office (which at that time was servicing the children’s play area in the former stalls) and, recognising our interest, she offered to show us the upstairs theatre. She is clearly very proud of this, which is building up a regular programme of live events. With the council concentrating on the Hippodrome, the Majestic has to be self-supporting but, in addition to the theatre, there is also a large bar area available for hire – and a cinema screen has been erected in an adjacent upstairs foyer area, where a local film society hosts regular film shows. Although, inevitably, still a work in progress, much has already been achieved and the upstairs spaces are in very good shape, all of which bodes well for the future.

terry on May 26, 2016 at 10:41 am

The 280 seat theatre is to open next month. The seating area is within the former rear circle with a new stage occupying the front circle and the area forward of the old balustrade :–

What a pity that the entire circle and stalls could not have been retained but at least the building has has been saved. I rate its chances for long term survival to be much better than in the case of the Regal/ABC/Odeon after the Vue multiplex opens.

michaelbrent on September 21, 2014 at 1:50 pm

Magic and Mayhem, the North of Englands largest soft play centre opened on the 20 September 2014. The centre currently occupies the former stalls.

The circle will be subdivided to form a 300 seat cinema auditorium and a stage will be constructed for shows, live acts, music. A Café/Bar will be provided in the former café.

terry on May 5, 2014 at 6:23 am

Double confusion in Darlington as some dozen or so years after the Majestic became the Odeon a neighbouring CMA (Rank – Gaumont Division) Cinema, the Arcade on Skinnergate, was converted into the Majestic Ballroom and it survives today as the Gala Bingo Club. To further compound matters some two decades after the Odeon (ex Majestic) closed as a cinema, the ABC (former Regal) on Northgate became the Odeon! In the heyday of Darlington Cinemas (there were nine) the latter had the largest capacity – by 40 seats…..the ABC Regal seating 1620 and the Odeon (Majestic) with 1580.

terry on May 4, 2014 at 5:46 pm

The Odeon, Bondgate, Darlington,was going to become a drop wall triple cinema – IE the original circle looking onto the original proscenium as screen 1 and two mini cinemas in the underhang of the circle (IE in the rear stalls).

A problem arose whereby there would be insufficient clearance (owing to the positioning of the main supporting girder)for the projection from port to screen in the two ‘minis’. The conversion was therefore cancelled.

The ABC(Regal)Northgate had been conspicuous by its absence from a list of proposed conversions of ABC Theatres published in 1976 from which one could deduce that the writing was on the wall for that venue. However, as soon as it became known about the problem with the Odeon (Majestic), the ABC was not only added to that list but was rushed ahead in the queue and was converted in very much the same manner which had been intended for the Odeon (Majestic).

So, had the best laid plans of mice and men gone ahead the Odeon (Majestic) would have seen the ABC off instead of vice versa and, I dare say, would eventually have been further sub divided like most surviving Odeons.

Anyway, it seems very likely that the Vue Complex is finally going to go ahead in Darlington and that surely will spell the end for the Regal/ABC/Cannon/ABC/Odeon, Northgate.

terry on May 4, 2014 at 4:59 pm

Union Cinemas, who briefly operated the Majestic prior to its purchase by Oscar Deutsch, were taken over by Odeon’s rival company, ABC. Union had plans to open a brand new Ritz Cinema in Darlington but this failed to materialise. A possible reason for this could have been that ABC (who already had the Regal Northgate) were able to cancel the project upon their acquisition of Union. Had it come to fruition and had, in turn, the Majestic been a Union Cinemas outlet upon takeover by ABC then that company would have had the three largest and most modern cinemas in Darlington and it is therefore debatable as to which of those three would have been retained.

Ian on December 3, 2011 at 3:06 am

An exterior shot from 2011. The upper level is reportedly intact but in a very poor state – a request for access was refused because “the floor is not safe” – the former ground floor stalls area is still in use as Rileys Snooker Hall. There appears to be much use of stained glass in the windows.


Ian on December 16, 2008 at 3:26 pm

Another shot of the Majestic / Odeon which is looking in a sad state now:–

AdoraKiaOra on December 16, 2008 at 5:19 am

How could they have coveerd up such a gorgeous frontage?

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on December 15, 2008 at 11:42 am

A vintage photograph of the Odeon Darlington, playing the Odeon release in August 1949:
Photographed in January 1971, playing the Odeon Release: