The recent refurbishment of The Capitol is just one
chapter in a long history of entertainment and the arts in Horsham.
The site of the current Capitol was originally an ABC Cinema. First opened in
1936 as a one screen with a 900 seat capacity, it was then just one of many
cinemas in Horsham.
The original Capitol theatre (after which, the new arts centre is named) was
actually situated a few minutes walk away on the site that is now Marks and
Spencer. With its closure in 1983, the council purchased the ABC on North Street
and developed it into the Horsham Arts Centre. This opened its doors to the
public Christmas 1984.
After nearly 20 years, Horsham Arts Centre closed its doors in January 2002 and
so marked the beginning of what was arguably the most ambitious and impressive
change to the town’s key entertainment centre. A massive £6million refurbishment
was completed this September 2003 and the result is a stunning arts complex that
melds the elegant art-deco features of the original ABC with an innovative and
modern design for the 21st Century. After being closed for just 20 months, the
exciting new venue offers unrivalled all round facilities including a theatre, 2
cinemas, studio, gallery space and stylish café and lounge bar.
ABC Cinema C.1982
Horsham Arts Centre C.1984
Photographs West Sussex County Times