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Statement on Purchase of ODEON Ayr by Merlin Cinemas

Updated: Apr 4

All of us at Friends of the Broadway Prestwick would like to send our congratulations to Merlin Cinemas on their purchase of the former ODEON Ayr! We extend a warm welcome to South Ayrshire and would like to thank Merlin for stepping in and saving one of the Broadway’s golden age neighbours that holds a great deal of historical and cultural significance to our communities.

We are absolutely delighted that the first purpose-built ODEON in Scotland will be saved for future generations, being brought back to life as The Astoria Cinema. The world’s cinema landscape is changing fast, as is our approach to sustainable conservation. From a point in time now where South Ayrshire is left without a cinema at all, we have an opportunity to show alongside our new neighbours that restoring our existing town centre cinemas has incredible potential to change the way we think about our ever-changing entertainment venues. To restore and protect our local landmarks, revitalise our town centre landscapes, and all the while preserving the cultural heritage of our past generations for the future. Our catchment area for cinema attendance is one of the most under-served in the country, with huge potential and a population strong enough to support multiple successful venues, each offering a unique cinema-going experience.

We look forward to developing a healthy, positive, and collaborative relationship with Merlin. We were kindly given a tour of their only other Scottish cinema in Thurso back in June, and their investment in this venue and commitment to the Caithness town leaves us with no doubt that the old ODEON will be very well looked after. Here you can view never-before-seen photographs from our official photographer Gemma of Esther Morgan Photography & Film, taken the day after the ODEON’s closure, when with ODEON’s support we were able to save their decommissioned 35mm projection equipment for use in the Broadway in the future. These photos show the wonderful original features still in place, that thanks to Merlin can now be saved and restored. We can’t wait to see the revitalisation process begin, and having visited the ODEON in its final days, to attend the opening night of the Astoria in the very near future!

Just like the Broadway and the ODEON co-existed peacefully for decades, we very much look forward to co-existing peacefully again with the Astoria for many more decades to come. The future of local cinema is bright!

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Well said, I don't ken much about Merlin atthe moment, but I like the way you welcomed them into South Ayrshire

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