Grand Theatre / Wonderlounge, Banbury
A theatre in Banbury that was later used as a nightclub. Many original features remain including the projector room with part of the projection set.
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The Grand in Banbury opened in 1911 as a live theatre and in 1929 began screening films. It was the first cinema in Oxfordhsire to show a film with sound, and started with “Showboat”. The theatre closed in 1935 for reconstruction and modernisation.
The Grand reopened in December 1935 , redesigned in an Egyptian/Deco style by Joseph G. Gomersall of Drury & Gomersall architects. It was taken over by Associated British Cinemas(ABC) in August 1943, but was never renamed. The theatre closed in 1968, and was later used for bingo for 30 years. In 2006 the Grand was converted into a Chicago Rock Cafe which later became Wonderlounge.
Despite the many uses, much of the internal decor remains intact including the original proscenium and stage, auditorium plasterwork and the circle – although the circle seats have been removed and is now filled with junk. Amazingly, the projector room still contains the remains of a projector setup – a Peerless lamphouse upon an original stand.
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