St Albans Odeon cinema to open its doors to public inspection

CINEMA enthusiasts will soon be able to see the state of St Albans’ derelict art deco Odeon building for themselves.

Visitors will be able to tour the premises during an open day to be held shortly at the former cinema in London Road.

Cinema entrepreneur James Hannaway has advised it will be either on the last Sunday in June or the first in July. He said: “Invitations will go first to those who have contributed. Then everyone is welcome on the door. Please watch out for a poster on the front of the building and keep an eye on the allaboutstalbans website.”

Phase one of the project to refurbish the former Odeon cinema was completed on April 9 when St Albans people helped to raise the �1 million purchase price of the building. Since then Mr Hannaway’s team has been in to turn on the water and lighting in the old cinema and start the clearance work needed before the massive �2 million revamp can begin.

Mr Hannaway, who previously restored the fortunes of the Rex cinema in Berkhamsted, stressed there is still a long way to go with raising the rest of the money.

He has opened negotiations with banks and is talking to potential investors, but there is still scope to raise funds through the sale of advanced memberships, seat sponsorships, shares, loans and donations.

He said: “If all goes well we should be rolling the first film before the end of 2012.”

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The purpose of the open day is to let people see the state of the building, to talk them through “the dream”, listen to comments and answer questions on the way forward. A bucket collection will be held on the day although no admission charge will be made.