End of an era for 86-year-old Bridgwater cinema closing its doors for final time

An 86-year-old cinema in Bridgwater has closed its doors for the final time as its owner moves into new premises elsewhere in the town.

Bridgwater's Scott Cinemas is set to open a brand new cinema at Northgate Yard this autumn, but has said goodbye to its site on Penel Orlieu.

It is truly the end of an era for the building, which opened as The Odeon on 13 July 1936. It had over 1,500 seats and was designed by the renowned architect T. Cecil Howitt.

The cinema was sold during the late 1960s to Classic Cinemas who separated the building into the stalls area for bingo and the circle for two screens, which remain in place to this day.

Scott Cinemas acquired the cinema element in 1983 with Mecca operating the bingo, which recently also closed for the final time.

The cinema on Penel Orlieu in Bridgwater opened in 1936 as The Odeon Credit: John Maltby

Cinema manager Zac Tucker was on duty for the final night of the existing cinema.

He said: "I started work in the current cinema 19 years ago, starting as an usher and working my way up the ladder. The next few weeks will hold a mix of emotions for myself, as I'm sure it will for many people in the town.

"Although it will be a sad occasion to leave our current premises given its long history, it’s very exciting to be a part of the next stage of the town’s cinematic history.

"This is a great opportunity to bring the people of Bridgwater a fully accessible and state of the art building with a great choice of film and live streamed events. I cannot wait to see all our customers faces over at Northgate Yard, old and new."

The closure of the cinema makes way for the brand new seven screen cinema which has been built in partnership with Sedgemoor District Council and will be the first element of the new Northgate Yard to open, with a bowling alley and dining hub to open in subsequent months.