Screening shows support for St Albans’ Odyssey cinema

James Hannaway and Adrian Scarborough © Oliver Simpson

James Hannaway and Adrian Scarborough © Oliver Simpson - Credit: Oliver Simpson

ACTORS, avid movie fans, and new Mayor Annie Brewster showed their support for St Albans’ long-awaited cinema at a special screening of The Great Gatsby at The Rex last week.

James Hannaway, owner of the disused Odyssey and its successful sister cinema in Berkhamsted, held the evening to give residents and rallying supporters a taste of what to expect when the picture house opens in spring next year.

Les Misérables and The King’s Speech star Adrian Scarborough spoke about the positives St Albans can expect from having a restored art-deco cinema.

He also read out messages of support from high-profile Hollywood stars including Imelda Staunton and Bond director Sam Mendes.

Lord and Lady Verulam also attended the event along with their daughter Lady Flora Grimston and Jill Taylor from the Odyssey team said: “The Verulam/Grimstons are extraordinarily supportive of the Odyssey project, so much so, they are suggesting ways we might use their land on the Gorhambury Estate to the greatest effect, for both fundraising and profile.

“We’re planning something with them in the autumn.”

Cllr Brewster took to the stage at the cinema and said to the St Albans residents in attendance: “I’ve only been your Mayor for just over five and a half weeks, and this has to be the most exciting and glamorous event I’ve yet been to.

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“I haven’t been here before and just look at it, it’s quite extraordinary.”

She added that in her year of office she really wanted to go to one more glamorous event, which she is hoping will be the opening of the Odyssey.

“We are going to be part of history. How lucky are we to be a part of it [the Odyssey]? I’m going to throw all my support and enthusiasm behind it.”

Building work officially began on the former Odeon on May 13 and currently the amount of money needed to complete the renovation is only around £800,000 short.

The team behind the renovation of the St Albans cinema have recently opened up sponsorship options to local businesses.

Spokeswoman Denise Hicks explained: “The Odyssey is and will continue to be a big supporter of keeping local trade alive and we are delighted to be opening the doors to local businesses in St Albans to ensure that The Odyssey cinema is truly local in the way that it serves its audience from St Albans and beyond.

“The St Albans community has fought fiercely to protect the cinema and it’s always been our intention to ensure that, along with employing young people from the area, local businesses have an opportunity to get involved.”

For all enquiries and sponsorship requests, please contact at or 07710 105148.