Sun rises on new cinema

A NEW $2 million 400-seat twin cinema complex planned for 2001 will bring air-conditioned day long entertainment to Broome.

It will also safeguard the future of the town’s historic, much loved and until now only existing cinema – the 84-year-old Sun Pictures, claimed to be the world’s oldest operating picture gardens, where patrons still watch the movies in canvas deckchairs under the stars.

Planning consent for the new entertainment complex has already been approved by the Broome Shire Council where the 13,500 population blows out to 25,000 in the peak winter tourism months.

The new plans provide for incorporated facilities to cater for theatre and stage shows as well as a comfortable venue for conference seminars, with a café, offices, outdoor garden terrace and car parking.

It will be built in the distinctive ‘Broome-look’ latticed architectural style, on three blocks in Weld Street close to both the international airport and main Chinatown shopping centre.

All three cinemas, with a total seating capacity of around 800 between them and presenting 10 film screenings daily, will be run in conjunction, as Sun Cinemas, by the present owners of Sun Pictures Marisa Ferraz and Ross de Wit.

“There has been a huge rejuvenation in the recent popularity of cinema particularly among younger people. We will be here, ready for the future growth of Broome, Ms Ferraz said.

The quaint single storey three-sided building in Carnarvon Street, Broome, with its distinctive pair of pointed corrugated iron roof gables which opens onto tropical gardens and the big open-air screen was first established, architect designed as a theatre in 1916.

Today, Sun Pictures has fans among thousands of tourists all over the world and is beloved by generations of Broome people for whom its chequered history, back to silent movie days, is part of their own.

The heritage building is now listed with the National Trust.

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