Developers have offered their first glimpse inside a recently renovated 1930s cinema that will soon be opened as a community arts venue – here are all the details.

The Roxy, a well-known former cinema on Watling Street in Leadgate near Consett is nearing the end of a six-year project to entirely rejuvenate and transform the building that was formerly an “absolute wreck”.

The two-storey building formerly housed a giant 560-seat auditorium, that has now been chopped in half to create multiple rentable spaces including dance studios that can be utilised by the local community.

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The Northern Echo: A sketch of Watling Spaces at The Roxy.A sketch of Watling Spaces at The Roxy. (Image: WATLING SPACES)

Organisers now hope The Roxy will be a thriving hub for community arts after it closed as a cinema in the 1990s, only to be left to rack and ruin. 

The Northern Echo spoke to David Barnes, Company Manager at Watling Spaces, the community interest company that has taken over and now owns the building to find out more.

He said: “The Roxy was built in 1938, and it was opened as a cinema. We believe it closed in 1996 but that is not confirmed as there are no records of that.

“What we have done is taken the cinema auditorium and halved it to be able to create performance dance studios which are fully accessible as we have a ramp and a new elevator.”

The Northern Echo: The dance studios in Watling Spaces.The dance studios in Watling Spaces. (Image: WATLING SPACES)

The building has also been kitted out with mirrored walls, sound systems and sprung floors by the dedicated team of people who have poured time and energy into making The Roxy a prominent community feature once more.

The organisers have also made it so all money from renters goes back into the building, meaning the building will be sustainable should businesses move in and use the building.

David added: “The idea is that the beautiful, fully new community spaces that are aimed at the arts will be used by companies and small businesses.

“The arts have a lot of transferable skills which we can use in our society that includes confidence and self-belief that you get from the dramatic arts.

The Northern Echo: Inside the newly renovated Watling Spaces. Inside the newly renovated Watling Spaces. (Image: WATLING SPACES)

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“It really is our aim to get as many local groups and companies to use The Roxy, not just as a hub but a central point where we can all come and work together.”

Watling Spaces have also confirmed that the building will be opened at some point in September for all locals who wish to see the spaces but also for anyone who would simply like to have a look around.

To find out more about the project, click here.