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The Rialto, Dunedin was a lesson                       Not post    Bryan and Dawn Ellis, Film Buffs
          in what not to do. Once an Arabian                       office      Christchurch
          Nights ‘atmospheric,’ it is now carved                   delivery    Ian and Bev Fisher, Film Buffs
          into six cinemas.                                        boxes, but  Christchurch
            Touches of the original have been                      recycled    Glyn Babington, Film Buffs Dunedin
          retained. A section of a massive girder,                 video       Warren and Yvonne Smith, Film Buffs
          which supported the second balcony,                      cassettes   Auckland
          thrusts out from the wall of the stairs to               make eye-   Nick Paris and John Newman, Isaac
          the upstairs foyer. The ceiling and a                    catching    Theatre Royal and Odeon, Christchurch
          feature wall in this foyer are also                      decoration:  Barry McLachlan, Geraldine Cinema
          original. A walkway to one of the                        Academy,
          cinemas passes a single, now out of                      Dunedin.    Ann Ellis, Theatre Royal, Timaru
                                                                               John Wilson, Metro, Dunedin
          scale, ornamental column.
            As an experiment in homage, the                                    Russell Campbell, Regent, Dunedin
          effect is unsettling. Cut off from their                             Frazer Falconer, St James, Gore
          original purpose, these remnants are at                              Lyn Daly, Civic, Invercargill
          odds with the new aesthetic. A cinema                                Neville Cook, Reading, Invercargill
          is not a museum; if an extreme design is                             Brendan Sparks, Reading, Invercargill
          out of favour, strip it out and start again.
                                                                               Terry and Lesley Ericsson, former
            On a last walk of the streets of                                   Embassy, Invercargill
          Christchurch before the flight home,                                 Calum McLeod, Cinema Paradiso,
          some of the group came upon the former                               Wanaka
          Avon theatre, now a bar and bistro. The
                                                                               Michael Orchard, Regent, Hokitika
          interior is largely unchanged. Rock
                                                                               Mark Falloon, Crooked Mile Talking
          videos play on a giant screen framed by
                                                                               Pictures, Hokitka
          the original proscenium. The new name
                                                                               Margaret McDonald, Regent,
          was The Holy Grail.
            Somehow that sign on a former
                                                                               Owen Burnett, Miners Hall, Ruranga
          theatre was just the right finish to the
                                                 Remnant                       Bruce Middleton, St James, Westport
          day. A group of theatre pilgrims had
          taken to the road; whether we all found                              Hans Wouters, City New Lifestyle
          what we were searching for was                                       Church, Christchurch (former
          uncertain, but as in all journeys of                                 Majestic).
          discovery, it was the quest, not the  Acknowledgments                Mike Trickett and Jim Barrand, our
          outcome that was important.  ★       On a trip involving so much detail,  good natured drivers deserve special
            With reporting by:              the number of people prepared to assist,  mention, as do their navigators Peter
            Rod Bendix, Barry Hodges,       often going out of their way to do so, is  Wolfenden and Gerry Kennedy. And
          John Fitzsimons, Gerry Kennedy,   large. At the risk of missing a name or  thanks to David Lascelles, Wellington
          Wally Perkins, Rod Smith, Ian Smith  two, the CATHS’ group is grateful to  for sending supplementary information.
          and Peter Wolfenden.              the following people for their help:

                    The Cinema And Theatre Historical Society Inc. is proud to have
               The Sun Theatre Yarraville as our major sponsor. Many thanks to member
             Mr Michael Smith, the owner of the Sun Theatre, for providing the venue for
                                          CATHS meetings and events.

              For program and venue hire inquiries, contact Theatre Manager Ms Giulia Virtuoso
                     on Tel: 9362 0999   ◆  Fax: 9362 0338  Website:

                                                                    8 Ballarat Street, Yarraville 3013

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