Central Stories going digital

Central Cinema has raised enough money to go digital in Alexandra’s new multipurpose theatre, where movies will start being screened within the next two months.   Central Cinema chairwoman Karin Bowen said the group had raised the final amount of money required by the end of last year, having decided to go digital about a year ago.

The digital equipment would cost about $125,000 and allow Central Cinema to screen 3D movies and the latest releases, Mrs Bowen said.   Another $35,000 has also been raised by Central Cinema for other specialist cinema equipment for the new theatre, which is being built in an area of the Pioneer Park pavilion, adjoining the Central Stories Museum and Art Gallery complex, in Alexandra.

Most of Central Cinema’s money has been raised by screening films in a makeshift theatre in a room at the back of Central Stories over the past few years. Other money for the $650,000 theatre project has been raised by the Central Cultural Centre Trust, which owns the Central Stories building, and from grants, including some from the Central Lakes Trust and the Otago Community Trust.   The development was ‘‘very exciting’’, and the group of Central Cinema members who had been working to raise the money for the cinema project were thrilled the project was almost completed, she said.

The cinema will be one of the main uses for the multipurpose theatre. The development will provide a tiered, 40 seat theatre, which will also be used for performances, lectures, workshops and classroom use. The theatre will also be available for private hire.   As well as the theatre, the development included an extra art gallery, ancillary rooms and toilets, all of which could be accessed through the Central Stories complex.

Having toilets inside the complex, rather than only the outside ones there now, was a major benefit of the project, Mrs Bowen said. Work on the theatre started in November and would be finished in middle February, she said. There would be a ‘‘grand opening’’ of the theatre in late February, and an official opening of the cinema in middle March, although movies would start being screened there before then, she said.