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Tessa Street, manager of Odeon Leicester Square
Andy Parsons

Things you only know if you’re a London cinema manager

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…according to Tessa Street, 43.

The Odeon in Leicester Square has an in-house organist

‘Our organ is called The Duchess. It’s an original 1937 Compton and our organist Donald MacKenzie has been playing it on special occasions for at least 15 years. When we show silent films he’ll play the soundtrack, and at premieres he might entertain the audience while they’re waiting for the stars to come in. People get so excited when they see it: it comes out of the stage, lights up and changes colour.’

Cinemas produce an awful lot of rubbish

‘If we have a full screening, we probably clear 40 to 50 bin bags full of rubbish – especially if people have bought a lot of popcorn. We do try and recycle as much as we can, so we split all the rubbish out and make sure the relevant things go off to be recycled. But you can’t recycle popcorn!’

Londoners love fancy dress

‘The public often come to premieres dressed up, but they also love coming to regular screenings dressed up or with props. “Star Wars” is the obvious example: we’ve had a few Chewbaccas, who got overheated in their suits, and a “Star Wars” family with the parents and kids all done up as Luke and Leia. That was really cute.’

Tom Cruise is always late

‘One of the things he’s famous for is wanting to speak to everybody, sign everything and take every picture. We’ve learnt now that when it’s a Tom Cruise film, we need to make sure there’s enough time for all the stuff he’s going to want to do, but there have still been a few premieres that have run quite late because he wouldn’t leave the red carpet.’

Now discover four things you only know if you’re a Thames lifeboatman.

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