Abandoned Freeman Street cinema to become airsoft and Nerf wargame centre

By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 4 Jul 2018

A former cinema on Freeman Street is set to become a huge arena for airsoft, Nerf gun and laser tag enthusiasts.

Arena Airsoft, based on King Edward Street, Grimsby have bought the abandoned cinema and are planning to transfer their facilities over to the locally listed building and create a huge battleground for the military simulation sports.

The team have a lot of work ahead of them to get the arena set-up for its opening in approximately five weeks time, as they seek to transform the building that used to be home to the Odeon Cinema and Ghetto Park skate park.

Arena Airsoft is set to take over the former Freemo cinema

Co-owner of Arena Airsoft Andy Jervis says that he is amazed that he has been given such a "wonderful blank canvas" to work with, which will allow him to create specific arenas for each of the three activities that his company runs in Grimsby.

This means that they will be able to run airsoft, Nerf gun and laser tag sessions all at the same time, something that they are unable to do in their current premises, where they can only put on one of the activities at any one time.

Read more: How Freeman Street will be brought back to life with public square, museum, school and parks

The Nerf gun sessions are primarily aimed at children from the age of five and upwards, however it is very common for parents and adults to want to get in on the fun, and often join in with their children as they take part in the 'Nerf Wars'.

Airsoft however, is for more adult customers, with participants being given realistic automatic rifles adapted to use airsoft pellets.

Airsoft marshal Aleksander Craig describe the sport, which he has loved for over six years, as a "high adrenalin" sport that can have you hooked from the first time you take part, although it can be a bit painful.


Andy Jervis, owner of Arena Airsoft, which is soon to move into the former Odeon cinema, Freeman Street, from it's current base in King Edward Street

He said: "I started taking part in airsoft just over six years ago, and since then I have tried to do it every week if I have the time and am not working.

"It is a real adrenalin rush whenever you take part, and while most people just do it for a bit of fun, others can get very competitive and take it very seriously.

Read more: Regeneration boost as High Court puts Grimsby shopping precinct back in Freemen's hands

"Initially getting hit by the pellets does not hurt too much, but when you get hit 10 or 20 times afterwards that is when the effects set in."

Andy is hoping that the new centre on Freeman Street will become a popular party destination in the town, and previous Nerf Wars events have proved to be very popular.


Grimsby Live reporter, Connor Lynch, has fun firing machine guns at the Arena Airsoft, Grimsby, which is soon to move into the former Odeon cinema, Freeman Street, from it's current base in King Edward Street

He also has plans for escape rooms and other activities inside the old cinema, because the more he explores the building, the more weird and wonderful rooms that he has found that he thinks that he can make use of.

The centre will consist of a two arenas downstairs for Nerf and laser tag, while upstairs in the former main cinema theatre, they will run the airsoft arena.

Read more: Sam is hoping to leave benefits behind with new hippy venture

He said: "It is just amazing that we are able to have this blank canvas to work with, that will allow us to do so much more as a business than we are able to do now.

"We are currently in the process of creating the arenas for the Nerf guns and laser tag, which will be followed by the airsoft arena, and it will mean that we can run all of the activities at once, and increase opportunities for members of the public to take part.


Grimsby Live reporter, Connor Lynch, has fun firing machine guns at the Arena Airsoft, Grimsby, which is soon to move into the former Odeon cinema, Freeman Street, from it's current base in King Edward Street

"At the moment we only run two open sessions a week for the activities, one for children and one for adults, and due to our location we do not get too much footfall passed the door so we don't get too many people coming in off the street to take part.

"Now that we are going to be moving over to Freeman Street, we hope that this will change a lot and we will have a really popular activity centre for everyone to enjoy."



Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Retail, Leisure & Tourism News
Share Article

Grimsby News

House of Fraser's Humber highs and lows: Grimsby saved but Hull goes

Hull & East Riding News

Winners of the 2018 Hull and East Yorkshire Digital Awards revealed

Scunthorpe News

British Steel wins contract extension to supply Network Rail track for a further two years

Your News

Would you want your employees working from home? Read more in our Your News special report