Webpage created: July 03, 2017
Webpage updated: January 01, 2019
Plans to convert an existing building into a cinema at 139 Exeter Street, Plymouth, were approved by the Council on November 14th 1932 but the Watch Committee, who were responsible for the licensing of cinemas, found some unspecified objection and the plans had to be resubmitted. The developers were Messrs Mexboro Ltd. The new plans were approved in September 1933 and on December 13th 1933 the Plaza Cinema was licensed to Mr G E Prance 'subject to the premises being completed'.
The Grand Opening of the Plaza Cinema took place on Monday February 19th 1934. The building, designed by Mr J Hammick, was described as being about 150ft long, the auditorium from the back wall to the screen being 103ft long by 45ft wide. Accommodation was provided for 943 filmgoers, 710 on the ground floor and 233 in the balcony. It was also reported that the cinema used Holophane lighting with which to give endless colour schemes on the silver satin curtain that went up and down rather than across.
Until 4pm seats in the balcony cost one shilling and those on the ground floor 7d. After that time the prices went up to 1/6d upstairs and 7d and 1 shilling downstairs.
There was a continuous performance starting at 2pm and the first films shown were "This Week of Grace" starring Gracie Fields and "The Ship of Wanted Men" with Dorothy Sebastion.
During the evening of the opening day the owner, Mr W Mumford, and the manager, the irrepressible Mr G E Prance, received an official civic visit from the Lord Mayor of Plymouth, Alderman E Stanley Leatherby. One unusual feature of the cinema was that it advertised a covered car park.
The Plaza Cinema was taken over by the Associated British Cinemas Group in 1939 and from July 1st 1940 became the ABC Plaza Cinema.