CEL­E­BRAT­ING CIN­E­MAS

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - LIFESTYLE -

FOND child­hood me­mories of vis­it­ing the cin­ema sparked a life­long in­ter­est in Perth’s his­toric “pic­ture palaces” for his­to­rian Vy­onne Gen­eve.

As founder of the Art Deco So­ci­ety of WA and mem­ber of the Na­tional Trust of WA, Gen­eve has helped en­sure about 300 art deco build­ings across the state re­ceived clas­si­fi­ca­tion for pro­tec­tion.

Thir­teen of th­ese are movie the­atres, which fea­ture in her and il­lus­tra­tor Ron Facius’ re­cent book Pic­ture Palaces of the Golden West, pub­lished by the Trust.

“Perth has more art deco cin­ema build­ings left stand­ing than any other cap­i­tal city in Aus­tralia,” she said. “We’d like peo­ple to re­alise how sig­nif­i­cant they are for WA.”

Call­ing art deco cin­e­mas her “life in­ter­est”, Gen­eve was spurred to ac­tion after re­turn­ing to Perth in the mid-80s, fol­low­ing a stint in the US re­search­ing cin­e­mas.

“I no­ticed how many build­ings had gone down while I was away,” she said.

She founded the so­ci­ety in 1987 and sev­eral years later pub­lished a the­sis ti­tled Ver­sions of Modernism in WA Cin- ema De­sign 1930-40. In­spired by the the­sis, the book is a 10year labour of love com­pris­ing his­tor­i­cal in­for­ma­tion, pho­tos, draw­ings and me­mories.

“It’s the sort of book peo­ple can pick up and put down, and find some­thing new ev­ery time,” she said.

Featured and still in use are Wind­sor Cin­e­mas in Ned­lands, Su­bi­aco’s Re­gal Theatre, Camelot Out­door Cin­ema in Mos­man Park, As­tor Theatre in Mt Law­ley and Como’s Cygnet Cin­ema.

Also in­cluded are the for­mer Bea­con in South Fre­man­tle, Wem­b­ley, Princess in Fre­man­tle and Perth’s Plaza the­atres that are oc­cu­pied com­mer­cially, as well as the Pic­cadilly, closed in 2014.

Choos­ing her favourite cin­ema was a chal­lenge, but Gen­eve said Pic­cadilly held spe­cial me­mories. Laura Pond

Pic­ture: Jon Hew­son www.com­mu­ni­typix.com.au d457156

His­to­rian Vy­onne Gen­eve with Il­lus­tra­tor Ron Facius.

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