Opening nights update…

It was never going to be smooth. From our very first steps into that deep cavernous zombie-dead Odeon building in 2006, as understatements go, we were quick to notice it wasn’t a good idea.

Early investors ran from the site. It was like walking into a labyrinth to hell, an icy hell, pitch-darker than any nightmare and 20 degrees colder.

So it is with this crazy opening four nights, only now, the hell is brighter but has shifted sideways. As the excitement builds, so has the disappointment.

After 19 years derelict, and the overwhelming St Albans support, we knew we were never going to get everybody in for just one ridiculous opening night. Now even with four opening nights, it is just as ridiculous.

Official Approval for public access and reopening is still crucial.

You have been asking about these Openings four evenings. Please accept our apologies for this necessary delay in bringing you up to date.

We needed to consider everything carefully and properly before deciding it might be futile even insulting to put so few tickets left, on general sale, causing a rush followed by even worse and overwhelming disappointment

Hence, there are no more tickets available for these opening nights. All four evenings are sold out.

As posted in earlier notes over the last few weeks, on websites and always in Rex magazine updates, tickets were to be made available first to Donors, Sponsors, ABLers, Investors, and seat sponsors whose name we had. If we have missed you please tell us and we’ll make it up to you, not now, but sooner or later. Tell us who you are and we’ll find something special for you.

With a limited seating capacity of just over 400, these places are now all but swallowed up. After these four days (27th-30th November) we will close to finish further essential works.

The full programme will begin on Saturday 13th December, when it will be open to everyone.

You will, after 19 years including the last nine years of icy hell, have to be patient a few weeks longer. By January ticket sales etc should have settled into a routine, and by February the Odyssey will feel like it has been here all our lives.

It is bound to be madness at first, but remember once we’re open, up and running, this Odyssey Cinema is here to stay. So you’ll have be plenty of time.

The building is opening unfinished for these first four evenings. The full programme will then begin on Sat 13th December.

Where, How and When to get tickets will be posted here and everywhere else very soon. Warning: it won’t be easy either. Like The Rex, tickets will be by phone and box office to start with (limited on-line bookings; aiming to be available from April 2015).

Stay cool, it’s been a long time dead, now it’s alive again, and not going anywhere.

Nor can it be threatened ever again. Nobody: no giant, mogul, big noise, superarsed multi can take it away from us again… St Albans now has the last standing INDEPENDENT SINGLE SCREEN fully restored cinema in all of Europe. And it is the St A City’s first decent, cinema for 19, 30, 50, 80 years! Above all, and all of the above, please take your time… JH


StagewithScaffoldingIMG_1839We must open in November. This Bela Lugosi of all buildings is sucking blood-money fast while Boris Karloff has regulations and delays bolted to his neck. Each is starring as chief disablers, fighting us to the death. Ready or not, we MUST open in November. The teaser is – when? This will be announced on webs and facebooks soon.
Best to keep the whole of November’s Thursdays to Sundays free. Or better still, wait and come to a proper up-and-running film the following week, when all the fanfares have quietened and we can open properly…
It will be a long weekend of four opening nights. Each will be an opening night in its own right. There is no chance of getting everybody in for a single opening night or even four. Lenders, small investors, known donors, seat sponsors will be on the list alongside the great & the good, the builders and volunteer fundraisers. But the list will not squeeze in the whole of St Albans. All opening weekend invitations will be an invitation, not only to come, but to pay to come, including all of the above. There’ll be no free rides for at least ten years!
So when the date is announced we will set up a ticket office and inform you when to start queuing. We must get the building right, or after 19 years closed and in ruins, and the eight years of Horror B-Movie adventure, Lugosi and Karloff will refuse us permission to open.
So when the date is announced, the screen, curtains, carpet, seats, projection and sound will be in place and fully up and running. The bars might be buckets of bubbly served from shovels, but the toilets will be magnificent, and the bright ‘exit’ signs the first thing you’ll see. We can welcome you with exits like a trolley dolly…!
A few fantastic, if crazy, anonymous couples want to pay £500 a seat for the opening weekend.
Are there more fantastic couples, singles, quads who would like to do the same…?
You don’t all have to pay that price of course. Other opening nights’ ticket prices will be announced when the opening dates are fixed. But please feel free to join this new exclusive £500 Club!!
A further incentive to secure your invitation ahead of the day, is to sponsor those remaining 190 seats. Now is the time Balcony seats £1000. Table seats £1500 and all corporate seats anywhere £1500. So move quickly, there is no better time than this last chance.
Please keep an eye on the websites and facebooks over the coming weeks.
All enquiries, sponsorships or 500Club applications to Marie Jahn at

All characters appearing in this are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.


Well done Alex…

AlexWith3Tools-CIMG8057This is Alexandra Heal visiting the site for the first time since work began.
You might remember it was her letter to the local paper which renewed the campaign. She was fourteen at the time. It was too late, permission to demolish and build had been approved, but it stirred hope again after the Civic Society’s brave efforts to save it. Hence it is entirely Alex’s fault that I was drawn back in and dragged you all along with me. Alongside Marion Hamment from the very early campaign stage and throughout, Alexandra is to blame!
If it wasn’t for that one retired school teacher then, and a child later on, there would be no photographs on this website of a building, almost beautiful, and nearly ready to open. The fanfare is all theirs.



We are very close. As soon as the sun goes in this year, last minute works will begin.
There is still much to do but as you can see from the pictures the ground is taking shape, as are the walls. The picture above shows the skeleton of the downstairs bar.
Here you can see the surround sound speaker brackets above the bar (blue rectangles). I’ve lost count of how many there are, but they’re this far apart   throughout the vast auditorium. The sound balance in the building will be perfect, crystal clear from whispers to boom. This is balanced with the most advanced experimental sound wall structure in Europe. Hence, a pin drop with nil shrill aural pain, fantastic.
Staying with sound, the picture below shows the early skeleton of the baffle wall. This is the essential wall that sits behind the screen. It carries the main speakers and bass bins. It is built solidly from wooden 4×2 uprights and triple sound boards – three thick plasterboard sheets attached vertically to the uprights, each on top of the other.
This is finished with a thick acoustic foam only millimetres from the back of the screen. This wall is vital to the density of sound, ensuring that none escapes or rattles around the stage. The result is a crystal clear vocal, music, whisper and booms travelling through the perforated white screen (tiny holes you need a magnifying glass to see) into an auditorium whose walls are ready to receive it either to deaden or resonate whichever the walls detect. When a film starts the whole building is live and alive to every detail on the screen and coming from it to you, sitting in unashamed fair-ticket luxury.

Hence the best acoustic system in the known universe, 90% of which is made of wood! And it is all now inside the Odyssey. The beauty is when it works you wont know any of it is there. Such is the genius of Ed Mauger, our sound and projection engineer. You will hear more of him as we get closer.
For now this is how an industrial strength hell has gone from the Somme to something you can see is beautiful, even in each stage of construction.
The daredevil abseiling down the outside is fixing a lightening conductor, which might put on a show of its own for us in the queue.
We’ve caught up with the half million we’ve been chasing from the outset, we now only need £300,000 to finish the whole lot, including securing the outbuilding to the left of the entrance, which eventually in a year or so will be your café/restaurant.
So now is the time to sponsor a seat for £1000 or £1500. Think on it, but don’t take too long.


We are recruiting…


We are recruiting first, school leavers, gap-years and new graduates for The Rex in Berkhamsted and The Odyssey cinema St Albans to build a new part time team for each venue.

The requirements to work at either site are simple and straightforward.

• You need to be over 18 (or 16 if you want to learn about ushering).
• You need to like working with and being very nice to people – including those you don’t like.
• You need to be patient, tolerant and kind.
• You need to be cheerful and helpful at all times.
• You must have all these qualities and more. The rest you can learn.

The Rest…
• Your job is to see everything, and when you’ve seen it, do it – from picking up litter when you see it, to spontaneously helping individuals elderly and young who look like they might need help.
• You will greet everybody in a cheerful and relaxed manner without being overbearing.
• No false smiles, no gushing, no ‘have a nice day’, no ‘sorry about that’, no ‘sing-song’ nasal voices.
• You will be shown how to do everything and it is all very simple.
• Every job in the cinema: Box Office, Bar, Preparation, Front of House, Cleaning & clearing up, Ushering, Setting up the House PA.
• Once learnt you will be expected to turn your hand to any of these tasks at a moments notice. For example, if the bar is busy and the box office not so, you should jump from one to the other, etc.
• It is part time split between evening and day shifts, so you will have time to pursue other things.
• It is seven days/evenings a week, running at least two screenings a day, so there is some flexibility about when you work. Everybody will be expected to put their name down for alternate weekends.

The Benefits…
• You will be working in a friendly, easy-going atmosphere in a cinema environment.
• There are no bosses yelling or demanding, no management tiers, just our experts guiding and instructing.
• There is no uniform.
• You will learn about events, audience/crowd control, the technicalities of lighting projection and sound.
• You will learn about cinema and films
• You will be encouraged to take part in programming.
• You will have the most enviable job in town/City and if you embrace it, you will enjoy it very much.

NOTE: Please apply for one or the other cinema. Which one you apply for will simply depend on where you live. We look forward to hearing from you.

REPLY/APPLY with your details, CV however short (don’t make things up) and a covering letter to: with ‘Job Application Rex/Odyssey Cinema’  (delete venue as appropriate) in the subject of email.

Part of the buzz…


The Odyssey is already transforming the neighbourhood. St Albans residents are excited at the prospect of their own independent cinema – no more long car journeys to soulless multiplexes, just a pleasant walk and a civilised evening.

You can be part of all this buzz!

Contact Marie at with your details and chosen name. Then select one of the following methods of payment…

By Cheque:
payable to ‘The Odyssey Cinema St Albans’ and posted to:
The Rex Cinema, High Street
(Three Close Lane), Berkhamsted HP4 2FG

By Bank Transfer:
Sort Code: 09-01-27
A/C Number: 89416262

Calling all local businesses…


, , , ,

WDP_0548Did we mention you can sponsor a seat?

We will gladly celebrate your name on a seat.

Contact Marie at with your details and chosen name. Then select one of the following methods of payment…

By Cheque:
payable to ‘The Odyssey Cinema St Albans’ and posted to:
The Rex Cinema, High Street
(Three Close Lane), Berkhamsted HP4 2FG

By Bank Transfer:
Sort Code:     09-01-27
A/C Number:     89416262

October opening?

We are forever chasing the elusive final £500k, seats are still available for sponsorship, as well as a host of other ways to give money (see our Support Us page) or you may have other fabulous fundraising ideas. However it’s done we need your help.

This final amount is essential
to the scheduled October opening

The work is going well so far and you can see what a beautiful cinema this is going to be. Below is a photo taken this week, you can see more of these on our Gallery or our Facebook page. Thank you for all of your help so far.


The Making of 2001 A Space Odyssey


, , , ,

We were recently invited to the Kubrick family home for Taschen’s fabulous starry epic book launch of ‘The Making of 2001 A Space Odyssey’. It is not just a book, it’s a huge black obelisk with a spaceship of pictures inside. Jan Harlan (pictured) remains Stanley Kubrick’s most trusted Producer, and the most exciting advocate and excited vocal supporter of the Odyssey project. The book is a Limited edition, so hurry.
Take a look
Not forgetting our very own Space Odyssey…


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,219 other followers