One of regional Victoria’s oldest cinemas, Lorne Theatre, is reopening next month for a pop-up summer season. Look forward to summer flicks by the sea, as this heritage-listed theatre will play a blend of contemporary and classic films from December until the Easter period next year. After that, the cinema will undergo an extensive refurbishment and restoration, in conjunction with Heritage Victoria. Lorne Theatre’s new look is set to be unveiled in late 2024.
This family-run cinema has delighted generations of movie-goers since 1937. Now, it will enter a new chapter under the leadership of brothers Barrie, Bob and Chris Barton, the same team behind Sydney’s Golden Age Cinema & Bar and Melbourne’s Rooftop Cinema. The Barton brothers grew up in Geelong, and spent their childhood holidaying in the coastal area.
“As a family, some of our fondest summer memories were formed within the walls of the Lorne Theatre,” said Chris. “It has always been a special place for us and we’re deeply aware of the space this building holds in the hearts of generations of local and visiting movie lovers.”
Pop-up summer season
Before closing for refurbishment, Lorne Theatre will have an exciting summer program for locals and visitors. Escape the heat from December 1, and enjoy a blend of new releases and timeless classics, as well as special film series and live performances.
Opening screenings include the 4K restoration of Stop Making Sense on December 1. The 40th anniversary screening of this concert film captures David Byrne and his art-rock group Talking Heads at the height of their prowess. Then, on December 2, catch Mutiny in Heaven, a film that captures the rise, peak and demise of Australian post-punk band, The Birthday Party.
Expect plenty of festive programming with their Christmas Cracker film extravaganza, like Home Alone and The Muppet Christmas Carol. Embrace summer with Surfside, a limited film series presented by surf, skate and culture magazine Monster Children.
The 550-seat cinema will run until Easter. Tickets for select films are on sale now.
Restoring Lorne Theatre
After their pop-up event, the theatre will close for a brief “intermission”. The planned refurbishment includes the installation of a new licenced bar, as well as elevated interior design that will highlight the theatre’s Art Deco style. Everything from the seating, lighting and acoustics, to the snack bar menus and programming, will receive a touch-up.
“Our plans for the building are not to reinvent the wheel, but to add some love and polish and restore the Lorne Theatre to its original splendour,” said Chris. “We want to accentuate that same charm and sense of grandeur that has captivated visitors for more than 80 years and help ensure the theatre’s future as a truly special cultural experience into the future.”
The revitalised venue will open in late 2024.