Kyabram Free Press
Plaza theatre lands $35,000
Kyabram’s Plaza Theatre will reopen in early November with an extra $35,000 in the bank, thanks to a Federal Government Screen Australia fund grant.
The theatre has been closed for most of the past four months, having been able to show only six films since June.
Plaza Theatre chair Lisa Ratcliffe said the grant was a significant boost for the seven-member committee responsible for the historic building’s management.
“We were shut most of 2020, then on and off for the last few months,” she said.
“It has been a bit of a struggle.” Mrs Ratcliffe was a little overwhelmed when she took the call from Federal Member for Nicholls Damian Drum, with news of the theatre’s successful submission.
“I was quite excited, this is the first ‘big’ grant we have had," she said.
In July last year the committee became an incorporated body and now manages the historic building on behalf of its owners, Campaspe Shire Council.
“We probably show between 45 and 50 movies a year. There can be anything from one to 100 people in the theatre for the showings,” she said.
Mrs Ratcliffe said the money could achieve a variety of outcomes for the theatre.
“We will be able to update some of the technology, do some more marketing and promotional work, along with an upgrade to some of our signage,” she said.
The theatre is currently allowed 20 people at screenings, but as this makes it difficult to cover costs, the theatre will remain closed until the state is at 80 per cent double vaccination and the theatre will be able to host 90 patrons.
Because the theatre is an independent organisation it will often have to wait two weeks before showing new release movies. It is hopeful of bringing Kyabram the latest James Bond offering, No Time to Die, before the end of the year.
As for operating in COVID times, Mrs Ratcliffe said the theatre was currently putting its plans in place for a reopening.
All of the theatre’s 30 volunteers will have to be fully vaccinated before they can work at the theatre, in projectionist, kiosk, ushering and COVID officer roles.
The theatre also hopes to continue its live production work, which allows organisations such as Kyabram P-12, St Augustine’s and the town’s performance/dance groups to conduct their shows.
Able to seat 431 people, the 1929-built building has recently had a $350,000 upgrade to roof joists and fortunately the upstairs foyer retained its original ambience with a new pressed tin ceiling as part of the major upgrade.
“The committee put in $100,000 for the work and the shire met the remaining costs,” Mrs Ratcliffe said.
The grant will allow the theatre to further enhance its delivery of full digital movies, with the phasing out of the 35 mm film process, and bring greater audiences to the theatre.