Apollo Cinema To Become Live Music Venue

Apollo Cinema To Become Live Music Venue

The former cinema on Newport Road Stafford is to be turned into a live music venue called Apollo Stafford.

The venue is currently undergoing renovations to host live music with an aim to have the main room open by late march 2023 (formally screen 1.) The aim is to cater for all music tastes and genres

Expect monthly nights of :
Reggae / dub
Drum and bass
House / Techno
Hip Hop

As well as local artists, touring artists will visit the venue and they will host a battle of the bands giving an opportunity for a local group to support their dream act.

Room 2 will open later in the year. It’s going to also have rehearsal rooms, a music studio, music lessons and a shop with merch from touring artists.

Room 3 will remain seated for comedians, independent film, lectures and private hire.

Stafford FM’s Matt Sargeant spoke to project lead Aaron Bunning on why he wanted to take on the project, he said “I’ve been a producer all my life and toured Europe playing music. I have also promoted music all over the UK. It has always been my dream to bring what I’ve experienced to Stafford.”

When the building first opened as a cinema it was called the Odeon Theatre. This Odeon Theatre was one of the smallest built for the Oscar Deutsch chain of Odeon Theatres Ltd. It opened on 5th October 1936 with a live performance on the small stage by Jack Payne and his Band. The opening film for the remainder of the week was Charles Chaplin in “Modern Times”.

Seating was provided for 535 in the stalls and 421 in the circle. The projection box was at the rear of the stalls, beneath the circle. Decoration was rather plain, with a couple of grilles on the side walls for air extraction and one in the main ceiling. Lighting was via a couple of coves in the ceiling which contained hidden lighting.

Photos of the Odeon credit to Mike Blakemore 

The Odeon was temporarily closed in February 1946 when it suffered damage by flooding.

In December 1981 it was converted into three screens with 435 seats in the former stalls and two mini cinemas in the former circle.

Whenever you speak to anybody regarding the history of cinema in Stafford the same name always comes up, Ray Faulkner, he was the projectionist at both the Odeon and The Picture House. He was well liked and a master of his craft

In 1988 it was taken over by Apollo Cinemas and re-named Apollo Cinema. The downstairs cinema was closed and became a bingo club for a couple of years, during which time the two mini cinemas in the former circle remained open. The bingo operation gave way to films again in 1990 and all three screens were again open, with seating for 305, 170 and 164. In January 2014 it was taken over by the Curzon Cinemas chain and renamed Stafford Cinema. It was closed on 18th December 2017

Sam Lavington re-opened on 25th October 2019 as Stafford Cinema and operated until It was announced on November 4, 2021 that the cinema would not be reopening.

2023 marks the next chapter in the Odeon’s history, we can’t wait for entertainment to return to the building.



3 thoughts on “Apollo Cinema To Become Live Music Venue

  1. Yes its great news that “The Odeon” survives again after so many have closed and demolished over the years, my Dad Ray (Chief) Faulkner who was a master of his trade and taught me the same as I worked with him from 1968-1982, one might say “The Ghost of Chief lives on”

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