20 Crackenedge Lane,
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Architects: Robert Cromie
Styles: Art Deco
Previous Names: Playhouse Theatre
Architect Robert Cromie designed the Playhouse Theatre for the independent Lou Morris chain. Interior decorations were by interior designers Mollo & Egan (their first cinema project). The Playhouse Theatre was opened on 26th October 1931. It was built for a mixed use of theatre and cinema and had a large stage, which was used extensively over the years. The proscenium was 50 feet wide, and there were six dressing rooms. The Playhouse was equipped with a Compton 3Manual/8Ranks organ. The Playhouse also had a café/restaurant for the convenience of its patrons. It was taken over by the Associated British Cinemas(ABC) chain on 6th May 1935.
Re-named ABC in 1963, it was closed as a cinema on 11th December 1970, when Tesco supermarkets were proposing demolition to build one of their supermarkets on the site. This never happened and it was converted into a bingo club, last operated by Mecca Bingo Clubs. In recent years, they have built a new purpose-built bingo club in the town, and closed the ABC/Playhouse building in March 1999. It stood empty until it was demolished in 2002. A Wilkinson’s hardware store has been built on the site.
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