The Odeon Theatre was built for and operated by the Oscar Deutsch chain of Odeon Theatres. It opened on 13th March 1937 with Paul Robeson in “Song of Freedom”.
Designed by architect Harry Weedon who was assisted by Budge Reid from the Harry Weedon Partnership, the Odeon was typical of the so-called Odeon Art Deco style of architecture. The facade was faced in cream faiance tiles and had a slab tower feature located on the left hand side, upon which was the theatre’s name. To the right of the entrance was a parade of shop units.
Inside the auditorium, seating was arranged in a semi-stadium style with no overhang on the raised balcony section and there were 958 seats in the stalls and 288 in the balcony. Lighting was via troughs across the ceiling which contained concealed lighting and there were six decorative panels on the splay walls each side of the proscenium opening which were designed by interior designers Mollo & Egan.
The Odeon began a policy of splitting the week between bingo and films from 1972 and closed as a cinema on 15th May 1976 with Sean Connery in “The Man Who Would Be King”. It was converted into a Top Rank Bingo Club which was later operated by Mecca Bingo. Mecca pulled out of the building in May 1999 in favour of newly built premises.
The Odeon was converted into a Chicago Rock Cafe which is located in the former front stalls area and Liquid Nightclub which uses the rear of the building and the foyer areas.
Great memories of Saturday mornings at the Odeon.I used to sing on the stage before the film’s accompanied on the piano in the orchestra pit by Mrs. Seed.Songs included “Lay Down Your Arms,” and “Around the World”.The Manager was my uncle Mr. Colin Roberts.There would be a cartoon film followed by “Flash Gordon” then the feature film.All that for just 6d.&
It’s was the highlight of the week Saturday morning Club. Singing Welsh national anthem and the songs with the dot above the words. I remember the town streets being quiet when we came out. Then someone told the streets emptied knowing hundreds of children will be pouring out of the odean. Happy days
Saturday morning kids programs in late 40s early 50s great times.