A MAGICIAN is hoping to pull off his greatest trick yet by helping to save an historic theatre set to be converted into a cinema and restaurant complex.

Paul Zenon is an organiser of a rally to halt plans to convert the Brighton Hippodrome into a Vue cinema.

It is hoped hundreds will join the rally from 2pm on Saturday, November 8 starting at the Max Miller statue in New Road, Brighton, in a “last-ditch” attempt to save the venue.

Mr Zenon is among performers who have added their voices to the campaign to save the venue in Middle Street, Brighton, alongside comedy legend Ken Dodd.

Thousands of leaflets are to be handed out before the event, as campaigners explain the urgency of their attempts to save the theatre which hosted performances by The Beatles, the Rolling Stones and Max Miller.

Plans for an £18 million conversion of the historic venue were approved by Brighton and Hove City Council planning committee in July and it looked like campaigners’ final hope of salvation was dashed in September when the Department for Communities and Local Government ruled out “calling-in” the application.

But campaigners hope that a show of public support for retaining the site as a live performance venue could still win them the day.

A campaign meeting on Saturday at The Cricketers pub in Black Lion Street, Brighton, saw an enthusiastic turn-out of supporters.

Among those attending was Mr Zenon, who said he was surprised at the speed the plans had gone through for the site, which closed as a bingo hall in 2007.

The 50-year-old said that as well as a fantastic venue for West End musicals, ballet, opera and community use, the Hippodrome could bring in millions of pounds as a high-class conference centre.

He said: “The idea is to get people involved that they can make a difference and now is the time to do it.

“Brighton has never been a city of culture so a rejuvenated Hippodrome would be the ideal catalyst for that.

“At the time that the councillors made their decision they were told there wasn’t a viable alternative but people need to know there is one.”

For further information on the campaign visit the Save Our Hippodrome Facebook page.