Report - - Odeon Cinema (formerly Paramount Theatre), Manchester - July 2013. | Theatres and Cinemas | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Odeon Cinema (formerly Paramount Theatre), Manchester - July 2013.


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Odeon Cinema (formerly Paramount Theatre), Manchester


The Paramount Theatre was built in 1930 to the designs of architects Frank T. Verity & Samuel Beverley for the U.K. arm of the American Paramount Theatres chain

The Manchester Paramount Theatre was a sumptuous American import, opened with suitable pomp and ceremony on Monday 16th October 1930

Sumptuous and colossal with a seating capacity of 3000, the local press described it as the ‘last word in sound cinematography entertainment’

They had to turn away over a thousand people on its famous opening night, which pulled out all the stops with a big US release The Love Parade
As well as presenting variety acts, a ‘parade of beauty’ (starlets from the American studio), and the Paramount organ, which dramatically rose up through the stage on the left of the screen

More lavish and luxurious than other Manchester venues, the Paramount soon became a Mecca for picture goers, regularly scooping up all the biggest and best new releases,
especially those from the Paramount studios, and being the first to offer innovations such as technicolor and wide screen

By 1940 however Paramount had sold off some of its UK cinemas to the Odeon circuit and so it suddenly became the Odeon

Remaining one of the most popular city centre cinemas well into the 1960’s, successfully complementing its screenings with occasional live concerts, such as the Beach Boys & The Beatles; with its long demise started in the 1970's

Like many other picture houses, this was the era that saw successive attempts to lure an audience, seduced into home entertainment with the introduction of television, back into the cinema


The Theatre was twinned in 1973 splitting the auditorium into two on the balcony and stalls levels, then triplexed in 1979, with a further 4 screens added in 1992 using the basement and stage areas

With each adaptation there was a commensurate loss in the original grandeur and architectural integrity of the design

By the end of its life the resulting seven screens were no bigger than many suburban sitting rooms and the introduction of the mega complexes in the 1990's were the last straw for the old guard

Despite all this when it closed in 2004 the theatre still retained its orchestra pit, stage, and proscenium, and its ceiling and foyer areas were still partly intact, even though much of it was hidden

The final curtain came down on the Odeon on Thursday, 2nd of September 2004; It's closure mainly due to competition from the AMC Great Northern 16, which had opened nearby in December 2001

The building has now been earmarked for demolition as plans to build a 14 storey office block next to the One St. Peters Square new build which is well under way

Myself and Ninjaboy recently climbed the bigger of the two tower cranes at One St. Peters Square, and whilst up there contemplated whether we should ever bother with the Cinema next door

>>FFWD a few weeks and I read a recent lead/rumour that some kind of work had started on the place ?

Hmm.. We decided to go and have a look and see for ourselves what was going on, as according to the plans work wasn't supposed to be starting until the following year

In reality all they had done is cordon it off, remove the front canopy and nailed some advertising hoarding along the front elevation

Eventually, we managed to muster some motivation to set about tackling this place, which was a bit of a faff gaining entry

In the end, the majority of the snaps were taken on the phone due to CBA

(I do have more pics, but really they aren't worth bothering with)

The building is riddled with asbestos, as you would come to expect

Still we managed to get in and see it for ourselves finally before it really is curtains for the place...











I do have more pics, but frankly they are not much better than these, sorry​


28DL Member
28DL Member

Was up there a couple of weeks back, couldn't believe that the place had gone. Surprised that it hadn't been restored.

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