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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

Cinema Returns to New Farm with Retro Flair

The iconic Brisbane venue formerly known as the Village Twin is finally reopening its doors

By Sarah Ward
July 29, 2014
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By Sarah Ward
July 29, 2014
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Everything old is new again at the New Farm Cinemas, the iconic Brisbane venue formerly known as the Village Twin finally reopening its doors. On August 1, the revamped theatre will welcome the public into its retro-styled confines for the first time since 2003.

Boutique in style but big in impact, stage one of the renovated venue sees two screens entice cinephiles with a lineup of new and recent blockbusters — Guardians of the Galaxy, Lucy and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes among them. Patrons will enjoy state-of-the-art digital projection equipment and an Australian-first audio system as they sit in either all-new cinema seating or beanbags.

The cinema’s second phase is still under construction, and is due to open by the end of the year. Four extra screens will be added, including two Gold Class facilities.

Since purchasing the property in February 2013, Yatala Drive-in proprietors Peter and Stephen Sourris have worked to restore the cinema from an empty shell to a faithful recreation of its former glory. Their labours have paid off in a venue that reinstates the splendour of its most famous feature — the heritage-listed Purple Room, bathed in the colour from top to bottom — while salvaging other original elements and also celebrating the evolution of both the building and cinema in general.

Stepping inside the New Farm Cinemas is akin to stepping back in time, with a modern twist. Walls of vintage movie posters for films such as Jaws, Mad Max, Saturday Night Fever and Serpico greet visitors, who can relax and appreciate the artwork in a foyer filled with brand new Eames furniture. Movie paraphernalia abounds, including tables and wine racks made from old film reels, and The Addams Family and Terminator 2: Judgment Day-themed pinball machines. A restored projector, dating back to 1904, provides a fetching centrepiece.

Those familiar with the venue in its previous incarnation will feel a wave of nostalgia as they walk through the space. The floors retain the recognisable circular-patterned carpet throughout, in both renovated and new cinemas, and the glass chandelier many will remember still shines down from above. Other touches bring the past into future, from benches made from old cinema doors to the exposed beams of the roof trusses as a stairwell feature, to photo displays that provide a chronology of the cinema’s transformations.

Since 1921, the site has hosted several incarnations of cinema screens, starting its life as the open-air Merthyr Picture Palace. It was remodelled in the 1930s to become the Astor, before morphing into the Village Twin in 1970, and now the New Farm Cinemas.

The venue aims to cater for more than just film fans, with a street-level coffee and gelato cart adding an extra eating option to the popular stretch of Brunswick Street. Inside, the lounge bar serves pizza, light snacks and beverages that can be taken into every cinema in the fully licensed venue. Traditional movie snacks are available at the candy bar.

For more information about the New Farm Cinemas, visit the New Farm Cinemas website

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Published on July 29, 2014 by Sarah Ward

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