Star Theatre plans for new cinema underway

Star Theatre plans for new cinema underway

This article by Piia Wirsu first appeared in The Examiner


Wine, beer and movie lovers alike will be excited to hear what’s in the works for the Star Theatre in Invermay.

The theatre is soon to return to its roots, being refurbished in 2017 as an independent movie theatre akin to the State Theatre in Hobart.

One of three developers with a vision for the art deco building Paul Lee-Archer said he, Ben Davis and Andrew Quaile joked about buying the premises when it went on the market in 2014.

“But yeah, we made a couple of enquiries and it all sort of snowballed and here we are,” he said.

A development application is now with the Launceston Council. It outlines plans to turn the building into a movie theatre that also offers a cafe, bar, conferencing and live events.

Mr Lee-Archer said they will showcase local Tasmanian produce, and theatre-goers will be able to relax with a glass of beer or wine while watching a movie.

“We’re envisioning it being more … independent, less mainstream films than are currently available in Launceston,” he said.

We grew up here in Launceston and we’d always sort of talked about … the lack of quality independent cinema in Launceston
– Paul Lee-Archer

Initially they will have one theatre with a capacity of around 300. The space has a downstairs stall area and a dress circle upstairs.

The upstairs area will be fitted with the seats that were removed from the Princess Theatre in recent renovations, while the downstairs area will be a more flexible and informal space with couches and relaxed seating options.

Future plans for the development include a second, more intimate 50-80 seat theatre and a small on-site microbrewery, whose produce will mainly be sold on site.

The three developers share a love of movies and the film industry, which is a key motivator in opening the theatre.

“We grew up here in Launceston and we’d always sort of talked about … the lack of quality independent cinema in Launceston,” Mr Lee-Archer said.

Mr Lee-Archer said local residents are supportive of the development.

But those keen to frequent this new cultural draw card will have to wait. The current lease expires in April 2017, following which refurbishment works will begin. Mr Lee-Archer said they are hoping for a September/October 2017 opening.