Bringing back cinematic opulence
What started with a pair of art deco doors from the Tauranga Regent Theatre, will now open up a world of creative opportunity to the community with the repurposing of The Historic Village’s cinema.
Initiated by The Incubator Creative Hub, the Village Cinema has been repurposed to provide a “physical space that film can be celebrated and nurtured,” says The Incubator director Simone Anderson.
“[The cinema] has always been pitched as a cinema but it’s never really been used as a cinema. It’s been used more for lectures and training sessions probably more than it’s been used as a cinema for showing film.”
The cinema’s repurposing will see this transformed and create a space for film, creativity and community to flourish.
“Essentially we’re here to facilitate other not-for-profits and community groups to come up with their own events and whether that be once-a-month or once-a-year for festivals – we’re here to do all the nitty gritty and guide them along for it so they can take ownership of it,” says Village Cinema coordinator Melanie Mills.
The Incubator’s artists and local craftspeople have come onboard to help with the cinema’s modifications as per their kaupapa of engaging artist in all their projects.
Ray Craft of Tauranga’s Men’s Shed, based in the village, is “building a box office with carved, lathed pieces of wood. It’s absolutely amazing and way more than what we thought,” says Simone.
The repurposed cinema will feature an opera style “proscenium arch” to frame the film screen and “lead the eye”.
“It’ll be gold and painted in art deco theme by one of our artists Nick Eggleston,” says Simone.
The walls are embellished with iconic film characters in a mural by Incubator resident artists Sam Allen and Ally Drury.
“We want to put the opulence back into cinemas,” says Simone.
One of a kind
The village cinema is unique in that it is “not a commercial enterprise” but “a community social enterprise,” says Simone.
She highlights the cinema is not competing with other Tauranga cinemas as it offers a place for people to enjoy films “that might already be 30 years old”.
“Mel might source them [films] for someone in some obscure film library somewhere and find the license for it. These aren’t even films that would be shown in commercial cinemas,” says Simone.
The repurposed cinema is an accessible creative place for all.
“We want no exclusion basically. If someone has difficulties coming to the cinema we accommodate for that,” says Melanie.
‘The Creature from the Black Lagoon’ will be screened to celebrate the re-opening of Village Cinema on Friday, May 27 at 7pm.
“It’s a real old school, B grade, classic – just the vibe of the cinema – the perfect first film,” says Melanie.
Details at: https://www.theincubator.co.nz/the-village-cinema
The Village Cinema coordinator Melanie Mills and The Incubator’s Simone Anderson are excited for the community to celebrate film in the repurposed Village Cinema. Photo: John Borren.
Geoff Lealand was an Assoc Prof in Screen and Media Studies at the University of Waikato from 1992 to 2017. Now retired (not a word he favours), he writes social history, maintains this site, its Facebook and Instagram pages, as well as going to the cinema at least twice weekly.