Odeon West End

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Odeon West End

The Odeon West End, from 1930 to 1988 known as Leicester Square Theatre, is a cinema on the south side of Leicester Square, London. It contains two screens—screen 1 seats 500 and screen 2 seats 832 [1]. Both house large screens in comfortable auditoria. It is often used for smaller film premieres, and yearly hosts the BFI London Film Festival.

The cinema is opposite the much larger flagship Odeon Leicester Square.


The Odeon was built in 1930 as The Leicester Square Theatre, a name it largely remained with until 1988. The theatre was built as a cine-variety venue for Jack Buchanan - a penthouse apartment was housed on the roof for the star - and showcased both film and short variety performances, before going over to film on a more permanent basis. A large single screen was housed in an ornate, three-tiered auditorium.

It was sold to J. Arthur Rank in 1937 and became Rank's first cinema, although not named Odeon for many years to come.

On 26 July 1951, the cinema hosted the world premiere of Disney's feature Alice in Wonderland (1951).[1]

The cinema was modernised in 1968 into a much blander shell, based around a remodelled stalls and single circle. In 1988 it was changed into a two-screen venue (Screen 1 in the former circle and Screen 2 in the stalls) and renamed Odeon West End.

Stephen Larcombe, Chief Technician, used to stay in Jack Buchanan's flat on the roof of the theatre during the London Film Festival to save having to go home every night.

The site was sold by Odeon Cinemas in February 2006, though will continue to operate as part of the Odeon chain until redevelopment plans for the building are finalised. In January 2014, Westminster City Council met to decide on a plan by the Edwardian Group to demolish the building and replace it with an eight-storey 360 room hotel, that would also include a two-screen Odeon cinema in the basement.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ (English) Jerry Beck, The animated movie guide, p.12.
  2. ^ "Leicester Square's Odeon cinema may be demolished". BBC News. 21 January 2014. Retrieved 21 January 2014. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°30′36″N 0°07′49″W / 51.5099°N 0.1303°W / 51.5099; -0.1303