The 1960s extension to Abingdon’s Guildhall – known as the Abbey Hall – is being brought back to life with a launch date this December. The building will be transformed with state-of-the-art projection and surround sound equipment, cinema seating and a finely-stocked bar. Named ‘The Abbey Cinema’, the new venue will be kicking off a run of new releases just in time for Christmas, including Mary Poppins Returns, The Girl in the Spider’s Web, Robin Hood and Wreck it Ralph, alongside festive favourites such as It’s a Wonderful Life, The Grinch & Nativity Rocks!.
The Guildhall complex is owned by Abingdon-on-Thames Town Council and the Leader of the Council, Cllr Mike Badcock, said: “The Council has worked very hard with the Regal this year to bring professional cinema to the Abbey Hall. Together with the Regal we have invested to improve the Abbey Hall alongside the Guildhall and there have been many challenges along the way. I am delighted that the cinema is opening before Christmas. We are very much looking forward to working with the Regal in providing a facility which will be much appreciated by local residents.”
A significant sum has been invested in fitting Abbey Hall with a huge nine metre projection screen, high-spec acoustic wall coverings and advanced Dolby 7.1 surround sound. Traditional cinema seating will be found in rows up in the Dress Circle, while the Stalls will offer cabaret-style seating. A brand new professional kitchen & a renovated bar will allow customers to enjoy light meals & drinks whilst watching a film. Ticket prices will include special memberships for Abingdon residents.
As well a screening regular feature films all week with 3 – 5 shows per day, the space will also be used for hosting live events such as comedy, musical performances, film theme nights & live streams of National Theatre productions, making this a dynamic multi-use space.
The Abbey Cinema is run by husband and wife team Sue & Ian Wiper and their son Laurence. They previously restored and re-opened derelict art deco cinema The Regal in the nearby town of Evesham, bringing it back to life in 2012 – it is now the biggest single screen cinema in the UK by box office sales and a hub of the community.
The family’s foray into Abingdon began in 2017 with their popular cinema pop-up nights hosted in the Abbey Buildings. The addition of the Abbey Hall screen will allow box office hits to be screened alongside special interest films, giving more diversity to show schedules.
UPDATE: Opening date announced!
The Abbey Cinema will open in the Guildhall on Friday 21st December 2018. Please click here for details of the programme and for booking.