Former Cinema to be Biennial Hub

from Liverpool Echo…

Canon cinema back in action

Jun 20 2008 Joe Riley

A FORMER Liverpool cinema is to become the welcome point for the city’s international arts biennial.

The listed art deco ex-Canon cinema in Lime Street will be used as the official visitor centre and promotions base for thousands of tourists coming to the UK’s biggest culture show.

The building, opened as the Forum Cinema in 1931, but closed for the past 10 years, is to undergo an immediate temporary transformation for use by biennial staff from September to November.

Apart from providing an information and educational unit, it will house an art work with a horror movie theme especially commissioned for the biennial.

Regeneration agency English Partnerships has given permission for the former cinema to be opened ahead of its planned long-term redevelopment by Urban Splash as a new York-style supper club and boutique hotel.

Lewis Biggs, director of the biennial said: “This is a key building immediately opposite Lime Street station.

“It’s been dark closed for many years and we are delighted to be able to open it up to the public again.

“It will also be home to a brilliant and spooky piece of art by Annette Messager, an artist who has represented France in the Venice Biennale.”

The biennial visitor centre will open on September 15 and close on November 30.

Mr Biggs said: “We can only use part of the building as much of the interior of the old main screen area has been adversely affected by dry rot.

“Apart from providing a reception service for the biennial, the foyer will also house an education unit.”

Opening up the cinema is part of the biennial’s stated intention of enhancing “grot spots” across the city.

Already revealed in the ECHO is the intention to build a Greek-style cinema on a former bombed site at the junction of Renshaw Street and Leece Street, opposite St Luke’s Church.

There are also plans for a traffic island garden with animated foliage in the Jamaica Street area.