Freshford cinema to become focal point of Kilkenny village

Odeon Cinema - Major preservatio n and social enterprise experiment with 1,000 seat theatre

Sean Keane

Reporter:

Sean Keane

Email:

sean.keane@kilkennypeople.ie

The Odeon, Freshford

The Odeon, Freshford

A once-in-a-lifetime regeneration of Freshford village is becoming a reality.
A feasibility study will place the iconic Odeon Cinema in the village at the centre of a major preservation and social enterprise experiment.
It is based on a detailed proposal for the Odeon set forth by the Acorn Club to the owners, the Dooley family, who are highly supportive of the project.
The Odeon would become the focal point in the social, cultural and economic life of Freshford and central to its long term regeneration in the plan.
Central would be the sustainability of the Odeon as an art deco cinema, doubling up as a 1,000-seat theatre with a flexible floor to cater for exhibitions, cabaret, bar, café and restaurant, outside broadcasting unit, library, local history museum, audio-visual centre and a business incubation unit and a hub for local and international festivals.
The vision is strong on social inclusion. The new extensive facilities would be open daily and become a hub for clubs, groups and schools locally with a range of educational, lifestyle and wellness activities available for all ages.
The development is closely aligned with the Freshford Heritage Group and plans for the provision of a walkway from the Odeon building to the Millennium Park.
Funding for the study is being provided by the Acorn Club with funding sought from the Kilkenny LEADER Partnership.
A company, called Freshford Together CLG has been formed by the Acorn Club to move the development forward.
This company, having charitable status and limited by guarantee, will be responsible for the overall development and long-term management of the initiative with profits being reinvested back into the project. A large number of jobs would be created during construction with many more becoming available as part of the day-to-day running of the facility.
A community group from Finland, involved in a similar project, are expected to visit Freshford with a view to a potential transnational partnership with EU funding potential.
The Acorn Club has thanked the Dooley family and all those who generously supported the project.