Thousands being spent turning former Stafford cinema into new music venue

Old Movie Theater on Newport Road

The old building, once occupied by Stafford Cinema, has been closed since November last year despite efforts to revive the property.

Now, a team led by businessman Aaron Banning has begun renovations with a view to operating a music venue called Apollo Stafford, after what was known as Apollo Cinema from 1988 to 2014. did.

The first event rooms are expected to be up and running by spring. There are also plans for comedy, poetry readings, and arts and culture bookings.

Building owner Sam Lavington

Banning, 38, who is also a musician, said after the movie theater closed, the building’s owner asked him to move forward with plans to create a new hub for music fans.

“I’ve wanted to build a music venue for years, and suddenly it seemed like it could happen,” Banning said.

“We have quite a bit of work to do and a plan has to be approved by the council. increase.

“We were prepping the floor in one of the rooms. We’re taking the stairs off and figuring out where the bar should be. We also have a huge stage area to deal with.”

The team has applied to Stafford Borough Council for funding and has already installed a sound desk and repaired the building.

The old cinema in Budo Corner had three screens, but plans are to narrow it down to one room and eventually accommodate 900 people.

Banning said: music in the city.

“I thought Stafford really needed something like this. There are a lot of music fans here, and it would also be a place for local bands and singers to hone their talent and support local talent.

“It will require an investment of hundreds of thousands of pounds. It’s in a good location. There’s a train station nearby, and the town has a car park and a hotel,” he added.

Owner Sam Lavington hoped to keep showing movies after the theater closed twice in two years.

The struggling three-screen cinema on Newport Road was left with an uncertain future when it closed in late 2017. As part of a new Riverside development, it competed with the new Odeon Lux complex under construction just a few yards away on Bridge Street. At the time, the previous operator was blaming building and funding problems.

After opening as a cinema in 1936 by Odeon Theaters and being first preserved by AJH Cinemas in April 2018, it closed in October 2019, eight months after its closure by a series of decades-long owners. It was taken over by Stafford Cinema.

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