All change for Glasgow cinemas

GFT to expand as old Odeon is demolished.

by Jennie Kermode

There was good news for fans of Glasgow's leading independent cinema the GFT today, with the announcement of major renovation work that will include the creation of a brand new 60-seater screen. Meanwhile, hopes of salvaging the old city centre Odeon have finally died, with the announcement that it will be demolished to make way for a ten storey office block.

The GFT work, which has been jointly funded by Glasgow City Council and Creative Scotland along with four charity trusts, will see the cinema's elegant lobby renovated and the cafe moved into the mezzanine area. Improved lift access will make it easier for disabled people to access all areas of the building, while new heating and lighting systems will make it more environmentally friendly. The work will begin in April, so will not affect the upcoming Glasgow Film Festival.

"Glasgow is a city that has long been in love with the movies," said council leader Gordon Matheson. "It is a love affair which has helped turn our city into the centre of Scotland’s film and television industry. However we have to ensure that we continue to support and give a platform to new talent coming into these industries. This is a vital part of the work of GFT which is one of the UK’s most successful cinemas. I am also very aware that the work of the GFT through its learning and outreach programme has helped to inspire and educate many generations of Glaswegians to cultivate a love of film and film making. We are delighted to support the GFT’s expansion plans and hope it will ensure that this unique Glasgow asset continues to go from strength to strength."

News of the demolition of the Odeon cinema on Renfield Street left film fans reminiscing over the movies they saw there over the years. It is fondly remembered for its distinctive character and the impressive displays it would put on to announce new films. The developers who have purchased the site have pledged to preserve its famous art deco façade.

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