Cameo cinema set for foyer renovation

The Cameo canopy will be remodelled. Picture: Malcolm McCurrach

The Cameo canopy will be remodelled. Picture: Malcolm McCurrach

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One of the Capital’s best-loved cinemas is set for a facelift after planners cleared the way for a new canopy and remodelling work to the Cameo.

The Home Street institution is a mecca for film buffs and has attracted fans from around the globe, with cult director Quentin Tarantino reportedly calling it “the best arthouse cinema in the world”.

Now it will get a gleaming new facade after proposals to renovate the entrance were given the green light.

Discussions over a start date are ongoing between contractors and owners Picture House. However, it is understood that renovations will take between four and five weeks, with the ceiling of the foyer being completely replaced.

The main entrance of the cinema will be closed so asbestos within the ceiling can be safely removed. Access to the cinema will instead be through the bar, which has its own entrance in Lochrin Place.

The operators also warned that building work might interfere with the bus routes that stop in front of the cinema.

A spokesman for Picture House said: “It’s going to look very similar to the way it does now. We aren’t changing the feel of the building at all.

“We look forward to unveiling our new entrance and 
canopy and welcoming customers through the doors.”

Neighbours have welcomed the work. Nick Munro, who lives opposite the cinema, said: “My wife, Lucy, and I have watched films there our whole lives and, like so many other locals, love the place dearly.”

Paul Beswick, chairman of Tollcross Community Council, said: “The community has always supported the place. When it was threatened with being turned into a superpub, the uproar was enormous.”

Opened as the King’s Cinema in 1914, it became the Cameo in 1949 and hosted screenings as part of the Edinburgh Film Festival.

Retaining many of its period features, the cinema still has one of the original ticket kiosks. A 2005 campaign to save the cinema after plans to turn one of its screens into a bar drew thousands of supporters.

It was made a B-listed building in 2006, ending fears it might be sold for redevelopment.

Famous faces to walk through its doors include Orson Welles, Carey Grant, Irvine Welsh and Sean Connery, who opened the bar in 1963.

A spokeswoman for the city council said: “We haven’t yet been approached by the Cameo notifying us of the timescales for their renovation work.

“However, at the appropriate time our local roads team will meet relevant bodies, if required, and will then look to locate a temporary stop as close as possible to the existing one, where it is safe to do so and where it is kept clear of the works and other obstructions.”

paris.gourtsoyannis@edinburghnews.com