What is your dream Chester cinema?

Having trekked up to Cheshire Oaks last night to the cinema it’s always an annoying reminder that we no longer have one here in Chester – complete madness!  There is promise of a cinema screen in the new Theatre and of course we have our Chester Film Society and other smaller filmatic offerings now, but we don’t have what most cities would take for granted, a large or multi-screen cinema showing new releases.


My visit to Vue got me thinking – what kind of a cinema would we actually like?  Many people find Multiplexes a bit soulless, I’m always irritated by the price of popcorn, the queues, the hideous interior design and the general clone-like nature of the chain cinemas.  I had a really interesting conversation with another Chester blogger about their dream cinema and they had vastly more interesting ideas than any multiplex would offer us…

So it got me thinking what is your dream Chester cinema ? What do we actually collectively want?

What kinds of films would it show?

What would the atmosphere, interiors, facilities be like?


Share your comments and ideas with us…





10 thoughts on “What is your dream Chester cinema?

  1. I really liked the Odeon, but as a broad comment my ideal would be a huge 1920s classically designed cinema that doesn’t just show Transformers…. However, I really enjoyed a visit to the Little Theatre Cinema in Bath and that would probably represent my ideal. Not large, just with a broad range of interesting films. Serves wine and beer and some traditional styling.


  2. I wandered the city last summer looking for potential venues when I heard that Cineworld was closing. My friends and I are passionate about film and I regularly visit Vue at Cheshire Oaks. I don’t mind the long queues or the overpriced popcorn (I accept that the confectionary and upsells are vital for the survival of a cinema) and Vue fills the hole for new releases and blockbusters. Chester film societies show great films in excellent venues, but film doesn’t have a home in Chester. What is lacking anywhere in Cheshire is a cinema with a unique venue and a range of screenings from the occasional blockbuster to documentary films.
    That is exactly what I would love to achieve. I can’t wait for the new Theatre and keep watch over the planning with a smile and clapping hands (also a big fan of the theatre). It will be great for the city, but with only one cinema screen it will be impossible to produce a diverse programme of films to attract a large audience. The only way to achieve this is to have a big enough venue to house multiple screens, an ideal solution in my mind, say 4 or 5 screens.
    My dream cinema in Chester?… probably in the old Brannigans venue (currently a Cafe Nero and partly Primark). The architecture from the outside of the building throws back images of a grand old cinema and it looks large enough to house a diverse programme, but small enough to keep an independant attitude. I love foreign cinema (from martial arts to European romance), documentary films, biographical, big blockbusters, the whimsy of Wes Anderson… pretty much anything that I can deem to be a good film. Film is an experience to take the audience member on a journey through fun and laughter, terror and tension, or to challenge and question opinion and belief. Diversity is the key here – trying to find something for everyone housed inside a welcoming atmosphere that can keep peoples attention and encourage inspiration so that they stay in the venue for a coffee and a catch up or debate.
    Can dreams come true?


    1. Brannagans was a cinema. It opened as the ABC Regal in 1937. It became a Cannon cinema before becoming Brannagans in 1995. The Regal became just ABC in 1959. It closed as the Cannon in 1990.


  3. I agree with the comments about indie & foreign films. A cinema with a different vibe to it than the multiplexes. Cheshire Oaks is only ten minutes away so I think Chester’s got to offer something different. I think the big releases should be available but also the smaller films. The closest we have is the little screen at Theatr Clwyd, which is great, but it’d be good to have something in town.
    For all it’s history, Chester sometimes feels like a cultural void. It’d be great to offer something different to the mainstream.


  4. I think Chester needs to look at venues like the Cornerhouse in Manchester and FACT Cinema in Liverpool (even if its foyer leading to upstairs is a sight for sore eyes with its ‘concrete jungle’ – a throwback from the 60s/70s). But there are many cinemas, for example like London, who still maintain its ‘flea-pit’ exterior/interior – Prince Charles Cinema, either because it would be too costly to maintain or in some cases, the general public love its retro feel to it – so why change it. Having said that, there are many winebars in London who have incorporated cinema as part of their modern-day fixtures like ‘The Roxy’. Having seen the artist impression of what Screen 1 of Odeon Chester would look like, I feel it has a long way to go in terms of interior decorating. From my impression it did look very much like an airport terminal with its design.


  5. So glad to see the plans for a cinema here once again. I was trained at the Odeon in 1984 and became Chief Projectionist there, leaving to go to the Cameo, Edinburgh, in 1992. Now that’s a cinema to model on, though I think even that’s changed quite a bit since I was there: http://www.picturehouses.co.uk/cinema/Cameo_Picturehouse/
    After 20 years out of the cinema business, I’ve finally come full circle to programming a voluntary run, not for profit cinema in Stromness, Orkney, and it’s great fun:
    That’s my dream come true, hope the plans in Chester live up to everyone elses.


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