John Mackintosh Hall set for major transformation

The Queen's Cinema is expected to be demolished.
The Queen's Cinema is expected to be demolished. / SUR
  • The central core of the building in Main Street is to be ripped out and converted into the new Gibraltar National Theatre

The government has scrapped plans to turn the old Queen's Cinema into the Gibraltar National Theatre and decided to convert the John Mackintosh Hall instead.

In an announcement this week, it was revealed that the central core of the John Mackintosh Hall is to be removed, together with the area which currently houses the annex to the Gibraltar College, and will be replaced with a new full-sized theatre.

The plans include an auditorium with seating for over 900 people, a stage measuring more than 13 metres in width with large areas for wings, and a fly tower, facilities which are currently lacking in Gibraltar's other theatres.

The works will not affect the entrance to the John Mackintosh Hall in Main Street, the courtyard, or the Hebrew School at the northern end of the site.

The design of the new National Theatre will also result in a larger library at the Hall and enhancements to other areas, which the government says will help to expand the John Mackintosh Hall's role as a cultural centre.

The original idea of converting the Queen's Cinema into the National Theatre was dropped on grounds of cost and because it was decided that a theatre of this importance should be in a more central location. It also releases the Queen's Cinema site for other uses. No official plans for its future have been released, but it is reported locally that the building is to be demolished and the site will initially be used to provide 23 car parking spaces.

The cinema, which is in Boyd Street, opened in the 1960s and closed down in 2014.