It would be safe to say that the Ellen Terry building is one of the oldest amongst the others at Coventry University. Originally built in the year 1931 as Gaumont the theatre, it had all the works – 2,500 seats, a ballroom, a restaurant and even a stage for live performances (Manchester History n.d.). One can only imagine the life this building has lived.
It had been around for less than a decade when it got badly hit during the World War II. But of course hope was not lost and it eventually reopened as another theatre called Odeon. It thrived during the 70’s and 80’s as the go-to-place for teenagers. I hear there were even special screenings for children on weekends (Coventry University 2011). Although just before the beginning of the 21th century the cinema finally closed down for good. One could say how unfortunate it was. But to me I only see the bright shiny silver lining on this cloud!
The Odeon theatre was bought over by Coventry University and refurbished into a high-tech, modern university building for media and arts students in the year 1998 (Manchester History n.d.). For a building to have such a rich historical and cultural background I believe it is only apt for media and arts students to be studying here.
The exterior of the building is grand, state-of-the-art, antiquated, with a clear view of the magnificent dome to one end. But as you enter you notice the contrast – chic, modern décor, technological opportunities and a media library filled with wonderful gadgets!
Some may say it’s old; some may say it’s new. But to me this is home. And a beautiful one at that.
- Coventry University (2011) Ellen Terry Building Revamp Complete [online] available from <http://www.coventry.ac.uk/primary-news/ellen-terry-building-revamp-complete-as-builder-recalls-memories-of-the-silver-screen-/ > [18 October 2015]
- Manchester History (n.d.) Ellen Terry Theatre [online] available from <http://manchesterhistory.net/architecture/1930/ellenterry.html > [18 October 2015]
- Moet, S. (2013) University Buildings Prior Purposes [online] available from <https://sophmoet.wordpress.com/tag/ellen-terry-building/ > [18 October 2015]