This Saturday (2nd April 2011) the Southside Community Council are organising a free Film ‘n’ Fireworks event to gain support for their Save Our Cinema campaign. The outdoor event is taking place at St. Patrick’s Square in Newington. It will kick off feature a short feature entitled The Odeon Remembered at 7.15pm, followed by Bill Forsyth’s Local Hero at 8.15pm. Finally the evening will be rounded off with a bang at 10.15pm in the form of a fireworks display.
The event has been organised to raise awareness of the threatened demolition of the former Odeon/New Victoria Cinema. Rather than destroying the historic auditorium, campaigners would like to see it restored to its former glory as one of Edinburgh’s premier arts venue.
It should be pointed out that their plans are not merely to turn it back into a cinema, but instead as a much more far-reaching venue for local arts events:
The New Victoria will be a space for everybody; open to the community and committed to the development of the arts. Space will be allocated for the use of community education groups, meetings, societies and clubs, alongside the specialist music, cinema and cabaret auditoriums.
You can find out more information about campaigners plans here:
On a personal note, I think the campaigners’ decision not to try and reopen The Odeon as a cinema is a very wise one. Edinburgh already has its fair share of mainstream and independent cinemas; and ultimately if there was an appetite for a cinema in Newington, the Odeon would still be operating from there.
Their plans to turn it into an arts centre sounds really exciting and far-reaching. I for one would certainly be interested in a space dedicated to showing local artistic talent, whether that’s musical, cinematic, or otherwise.
However, it is up to the local people of Edinburgh to ensure not only this campaign succeeds, but that The New Victoria can make a profit if/when it does open. I would encourage anyone local to Edinburgh interested in saving this historic building to attend the event on Saturday as the first step in creating and maintaining a really exciting new arts venue for Edinburgh.
If you can’t attend the event, but still want to show your support, there’s an online petition you can sign here:
Otherwise, I look forward to seeing you Saturday. I’ll be the one wrapped up in three coats, four jumpers and five pairs of socks.