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Bennetts reveals Chester Odeon overhaul proposals

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These are the first images of Bennetts Associates’ proposed £40 million redevelopment of Chester’s Art Deco Odeon cinema

The project for Cheshire West and Chester Council will see the Grade II-listed, 1936 building transformed into a new theatre and library with an 800-seat main auditorium and a second 200-seat performance space.

The scheme also includes two studio cinemas and new cafes and bars.

Bennetts, whose revamp of the Royal Shakespeare and Swan Theatres was shortlisted for last year’s Stirling Prize, plan to house the studio theatre, foyer and cafes and bars within the restored Art Deco interior of the Odeon cinema with the public library sitting alongside the theatres.

Simon Erridge, director at Bennetts Associates said: ‘This is an immensely challenging project involving sensitive restoration and refurbishment alongside the creation of a brand new theatre. The innovative approach of bringing theatres, cinemas and a library together under one roof will create a major cultural focus for Chester as well as bringing a threatened historic building back into use.’

The Council will make an initial application for Arts Council funding in September (2012) with a planning application scheduled for summer 2013.

The new facilities are planned to open in spring 2016.

Project data

Architects: Bennetts Associates
Theatre consultants: Charcoalblue
Engineers: Buro Happold
Project managers: Buro Four
Cost: £40 million

The Chester Odeon in its heyday

Source: John Maltby

The Chester Odeon in its heyday

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