Grand old dame is back

The Paragon Theatre makes its post-restora­tion de­but to kick off fes­ti­val

Isis Town and Country - - News -

THE cur­tains of the beloved Paragon Theatre were drawn back for the first time in 16 years on Fri­day night to kick off the Childers Fes­ti­val.

Lov­ingly re­stored by owner Merissa Craft and her hus­band, Nigel, the Paragon Theatre is equipped to screen the lat­est films but has re­tained its pressed ceil­ings and can­vas chairs, cre­at­ing an au­then­tic and spe­cial at­mos­phere.

The theatre is one of the few op­er­at­ing her­itage film the­atres still op­er­at­ing in re­gional Queens­land.

Mrs Craft said she was thrilled that her dream to breathe life back into the theatre had trans­formed to re­al­ity.

While the eight-year jour­ney to re­store the build­ing wasn’t easy, she said the blood, sweat and tears were worth it.

Mrs Craft and her team’s hard work paid off, with about 150 vis­i­tors at­tend­ing the open­ing of this grand old dame.

“Num­bers over the week­end weren’t as good as they could have been but every­one who did come had a great time,” she said.

“We had peo­ple com­ment­ing how lovely the bath­rooms were and how comfy the seats were and how beau­ti­ful ev­ery­thing was.

“We had noth­ing but 100% pos­i­tive feed­back.”

The theatre was of­fi­cially opened by Mem­ber for Bur­nett Stephen Ben­nett, with a num­ber of coun­cil­lors in at­ten­dance to help cel­e­brate the mile­stone.

The Cin­ema and Theatre His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety of Aus­tralia con­grat­u­lated the Crafts on the re­open­ing of the theatre.

CATHS was formed in 1989 by a group of peo­ple who share a pas­sion for cin­ema and theatre his­tory.

“We are very ex­cited to see such a historic theatre build­ing be­ing brought back to life,” CATHS spokesman Steve Maggs said.

“This will be a great as­set to the com­mu­nity and I am sure that lo­cals will give it full sup­port. So much time and ef­fort has gone into the restora­tion.

“It is won­der­ful that movies are com­ing back to the theatre.

“Many older theatre build­ings that are still stand­ing are of­ten re­stored but con­verted into other uses, such as re­tail stores or sub­di­vided into of­fices.”

PHOTO: MAX FLEET BUN270714PAR5

OPEN CUR­TAINS: Paragon Theatre owner Merissa Craft is over the moon to have the venue open for the Childers Fes­ti­val.

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