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2012: A St Albans Odyssey
The Odyssey Cinema in St Albans
1.7 million is still needed to pay for the renovation of the iconic building

Suggestions included The Phoenix, The Kubrick and even Big Shiny Jesus.

However after more than 600 names were considered, the new cinema planned for St Albans will now be called The Odyssey.

The new name takes inspiration from 2001: A Space Odyssey, the science-fiction epic from celebrated director Stanley Kubrick, who lived nearby.

"It's a fantastic name," said Denise Hicks from the St Albans Cinema Project.

1927: St Albans' first cinema burned down
1931: The Capitol Cinema opened on the cleared site, seating 1,168 in the stalls and 452 in the balcony
1934: The cinema was enlarged to 1,728 seats. The Capitol was bought by General Cinema Finance and then passed to Odeon
1945: The Odeon renamed the cinema
1973: The new three-screen complex opened in January with two smaller screens of 115 and 129 seats tucked under the balcony
1988: A fourth screen was added
1995: All screens closed on 20 August
1995-2009: Various proposals put forward for a new cinema but the owners want to use the site for flats
2009: James Hannaway announced that he had agreed to buy the building, subject to raising the funds

"Stanley Kubrick lived in St Albans and his family still live locally, so to name the cinema after one of the films by one of the greatest film makers of our time was, we felt, really important.

"The name is also a representation of a great journey, and that is what this restoration is going to be!"

The building was bought in 2009 for £1 million by a group fronted by James Hannaway, the CEO of The Rex cinema in Berkhamsted.

However, £1.7 million is still needed to pay for the renovation of the iconic building.

"Although that sounds like a huge figure, we're very heartened by the fact that the community helped us to raise £1 million in eight weeks - which is absolutely astonishing, so we're sure we can achieve it," said Denise.

The St Albans Cinema Project have suggested different ways in which the public can help out.

"Sponsoring a seat for example, makes a great gift for somebody who loves films and the cinema."

The cinema in London Road is expected to reopen at the end of 2012 after it's extensive redevelopment.

The four original screens will be replaced by one huge screen as the floor of the main auditorium is removed to create one big theatre with seating and tables on the lower level, and balcony above.

For more information about The Odyssey, visit www.odysseypictures.co.uk .

St Albans Odeon can rise again
07 Dec 09 |  People & Places


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