Heart-felt cinema return

Warren HatelyThe West Australian
Arts Margaret River general manager Andrew Frith is thrilled to announce the region's cinema will return with two screens next month, when the first stage of the Cultural Centre redevelopment completes.
Camera IconArts Margaret River general manager Andrew Frith is thrilled to announce the region's cinema will return with two screens next month, when the first stage of the Cultural Centre redevelopment completes. Credit: Warren Hately

Arts Margaret River’s much-loved and sorely missed cinema returns next month.

After almost a year’s hiatus due to redevelopment of the Cultural Centre, the volunteer-backed cinema will start screening films for the first time in the new multipurpose space on March 15.

The Ocean Film Festival on March 11 and a children’s show, Spike the Echidna, will play ahead of the cinema relaunch, but the first scheduled movie would be award-winning biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, followed by a late-night singalong version.

“We think that will be quite an entertaining evening,” Arts MR general manager Andrew Frith said.

When finished, the Cultural Centre will be known as the “Margaret River HEART” — the “hub for entertainment, arts, and regional touring” — though as councillors noted last year, many residents would continue to use the old name.

The project would be completed in two stages, allowing the cinema to re-open in its old space, before the second-stage completion midyear provided an expanded theatre space.

Mr Frith said the multipurpose space and theatre would allow festivals like CinefestOz to offer joint screenings in the future.

“It’s designed so you can have it in both,” he told the Times.

The first cinema could host 168 without adding seats, while the theatre could fit 445 patrons in fixed seating.

“From March to August it will be a very similar schedule to what we did before,” Mr Frith said.

“We do hope (then) to expand our cinema offering, subject to public demand.”

Although local arts mavens were keen to get back into their renovated home, Mr Frith said the construction period was good for Arts Margaret River, which had the chance to host events in other locations and engage residents in different ways.

Cowaramup’s Sundowners continue this month, with details, along with cinema listings, on the Arts Margaret River website artsmargaretriver.com.

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