Grand old dame is back
The Paragon Theatre makes its post-restoration debut to kick off festival
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.”
OPEN CURTAINS: Paragon Theatre owner Merissa Craft is over the moon to have the venue open for the Childers Festival.