The Deco

The Deco is a restored 1930s cinema and theatre located in the heart of Northampton, England. It is now operated as a venue for corporate, social and theatrical events.

The Deco
The Deco auditorium in Northampton.jpg
Main Auditorium
AddressAbington Square
Northampton, Northamptonshire
Coordinates52°14′24″N 0°53′21″W / 52.239972°N 0.88904°W / 52.239972; -0.88904
OwnerNorthampton Borough Council
DesignationGrade II listed
Capacity925 (Auditorium)
400 (Doré suite)
400 (Glen suite)
Current useNational touring productions
Conference and Function room hire
Meeting rooms
Construction
Opened1936 (The Savoy)
Rebuilt2004 (The Deco)
ArchitectWR Glen
Website
The Deco website

The Deco was designated a Grade II listed building in 2004.[1] and originally featured a single large cinema room and theatre. Over the years the internal arrangement of the building has changed a couple of times and The Deco now consists of 3 main areas: A main 925 seat auditorium and 2 smaller 200 seater rooms, The Doré and The Glen, the latter being named after the original architect William Riddell Glen.

The Deco features as part of the Northampton Heritage Trail,[2] The Deco is now one of the largest venues for touring bands between London and Birmingham.

HistoryEdit

The Deco first opened on Saturday 2 May 1936 in a blaze of publicity as "the Savoy" described as "Northampton’s only super Cinema[3]" and was reported to be "the last word in comfort". It was part of the ABC group designed by their prolific house architect William Riddell Glen[4] and built in under 9 months on the site of the original Technical College. It was constructed in the International Modernistic style and is arguably the best remaining example of Glen’s work[5] with all the main features still in place and sympathetically renovated.

The Savoy was very popular and originally held almost 2000 people in the 696 seat circle and 1200 seat stalls. It was designed both as a cinema and theatre complete with orchestra pit. It hosted shows and concerts as well as films.

In the 1950s it was renamed the "ABC" in line with the group’s national branding policy and was the local venue of choice for the touring bands of the 60s including the Beatles in both March[6] and November 1963[7] the Rolling Stones in 1965 and infamously PJ Proby in 1965 when he was arrested for splitting his trousers on stage!

A number of the 60s bands have returned to play the Deco in recent years including the Hollies, the Searchers and Billy J Kramer.

In 1974 it was converted to a 3 screen complex by using the rear of the stalls with a dividing wall for the 2 smaller screens and leaving the main auditorium circle as the main "ABC 1″.[3]

By the mid-90s however the ABC, now renamed Cannon cinema, was unable to compete with the modern multiscreen complexes. The owning company (Credit Lyonnais, who had acquired Cannon studios and Cannon cinemas) also owned the MGM brand and built a new 9 screen MGM multiplex (now Cineworld) at Sixfields Leisure Park to replace the Cannon. After the Sixfields cinema opened, the Cannon finally closed its doors in 1995 with the appropriately named "Terminal Velocity".

Recent yearsEdit

The building was derelict for 5 years until 2000 when it was purchased by a local Charitable Trust to be converted to a multi-purpose venue opening in October 2005 as the Deco [8]

The venue is operated by Stage Right Productions as a venue for corporate, social and theatrical events The Deco also host a wide variety of regular shows including an annual Christmas pantomime that is produced by Stage Right Productions

Current FacilitiesEdit

The venue has over 7,250 sq ft of usable theatre or concert space in the main auditorium with an additional two large conference suites, The Glen and The Doré, offering a further 3,900 sq ft. The main auditorium can accommodate 925 seated or 1,200 standing in stalls and seating in circle, whilst the suites offer a capacity of 200 each when configured as a conference venue.

In addition to the main auditorium and conference suites, the refurbishment saw various of the smaller rooms throughout the building which would have been projection rooms, storage rooms and offices converted to small meeting or conference rooms and these have also available to be hire.[9]

Main room dimensions:

  • The Auditorium – 7,250 sq ft
  • The Doré suite – 1,700 sq ft
  • The Glen suite – 2,200 sq ft

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Cinema Treasures". Retrieved 1 July 2015.
  2. ^ "Heritage open day trail" (PDF). Retrieved 1 July 2015.
  3. ^ a b "An Historic Building Record of the former Cannon Cinema, Abington Square, Northampton" (PDF). Retrieved 1 July 2015.
  4. ^ "Arthur Lloyd: The Music Hall and Theatre History Website".
  5. ^ "Theatres Trust: ABC Northampton". Retrieved 1 July 2015.
  6. ^ "Beatles Bible". Retrieved 1 July 2015.
  7. ^ "Beatles Bible (November)". Retrieved 1 July 2015.
  8. ^ "Deco relaunch". BBC. Retrieved 1 July 2015.
  9. ^ "The Deco". Retrieved 1 July 2015.