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Statement on Closure of ODEON Ayr

Updated: Apr 4

All of us at Friends of the Broadway Prestwick were very sad to hear the news of the closure of our closest neighbours, ODEON Ayr.

The first purpose-built ODEON in Scotland, the cinema opened in 1938 just three years after the Broadway and has been the last surviving cinema in the area for over 40 years. Generations of our families hold such fond memories of the ODEON, and the building stands alongside the Broadway, the Orient and the Green’s Playhouse as a reminder of the glitz and glamour of the golden age of cinema across our communities.

Once the ODEON closes its doors one last time, there will be no cinema left open in South Ayrshire. We remain committed to changing that and bringing the Broadway back to life for generations to come. We are now legal occupants of the building, have strengthened our organisation with crucial experience in cinema development, funding, and project management, and announced our partnership with the UK’s leading heritage cinema restoration architects, Burrell Foley Fischer.

The Broadway Cinema of the future will capture the soul of the Art Deco golden age cinema experience. The evocative atmosphere of Alister MacDonald’s original design will be reborn and paired with state-of-the-art cinema technology to create an entertainment experience totally unique. The Broadway will also have the facilities to transform and operate as a multi-use venue, playing host to live theatre, music, dancing and more. We will become a central hub for our communities, protecting the building’s heritage whilst incorporating dementia-friendly, Gaelic-inclusive, and all-accessible design. A premier entertainment venue with cinema at its heart.

The Broadway will host a varied and exciting cinema programme, bringing the newest blockbusters back to South Ayrshire alongside endless special events including film festivals and vintage golden age 35mm cinema experiences. Our vision for the Broadway’s future developed by Burrell Foley Fischer will be revealed this summer.

In the meantime, we are now planning to keep bringing the newest cinema releases to our communities with the relaunch of our pop-up cinema schedule in June, with The Broadway at Prestwick Academy. With the academy’s 300-seater auditorium and full stage and lighting equipment we can create a wonderful meantime experience, while the Broadway’s restoration work begins in the background. All-time classics, the latest blockbusters and week-long special events are coming to Prestwick this year!

The struggles of the multiplex bear no reflection on the ever-growing and thriving neighbourhood cinema sector, and we stand uniquely placed to bring a truly special cinema experience back to South Ayrshire. Memories of the ODEON will last forever, and the Broadway can help keep those memories alive. Our Museum of Scottish Cinemas project can play a huge role in protecting such an integral part of Scotland’s cultural heritage, as we also aim to create a space in the Broadway of the future to bring our nation’s memories of the golden age of cinema back to life.

Today, our thoughts are with all the management, staff, and loyal patrons of ODEON Ayr at this difficult time. Looking forward we need to work together to make sure cinema’s absence in our area is merely temporary and protect the Broadway’s future for generations to come. You can get involved and support our project by becoming an official member of our group, donating to our cause, and following our progress right here on our official website. Our project is solely run by community volunteers and more than ever we need your support and passion!

Cinema will return. Let’s bring the Broadway back, together!

Thank you.

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