The Astor Theatre has long been a favourite place for me and for the seventeen odd years I lived in the Windsor / St Kilda East area, it was never more than 10 minutes away. The heritage listed Art Deco theatre has been screening films almost continuously for seventy five years and is now the last of the single screen cinema palaces in Melbourne.
I have many fond memories of late Saturday nights watching films from one of the ancient couches at the back of the stalls downstairs, feeling like I was sitting in my own home. The stalls haven't been open for years now, but I have found the perfect spot in the dress circle - it's a double seat! It was wonderful if you were there with a date; we'd cuddle up under a blanket, watching romantic classics like Roman Holiday. Sigh. Alarmingly, its future now under threat.
|The Astor Theatre, Windsor. |
Photo: The Argus newspaper, 1936 (?)
The property was purchased in 2007 by a nearby private school and while the building has been allowed to continued to operate as a cinema, they have not been offered a new lease. There is talk of the building being turned into a school performing arts centre and uniform shop! Heaven forbid!! If you have ever had the pleasure of visiting The Astor, you can understand the horror of the situation.
Tomorrow, Saturday 16th, the Friends of The Astor are holding an event for Melbournians to come out and show their support for this grand, old cinema. Between midday and three o'clock, there'll be the rolling of Jaffas down the aisles, free popcorn (until they run out) and a screening of the awesome Jim Henson classic Labyrinth. I don't think I've ever seen it on the big screen so I'm a bit excited. I do hope my favourite seat is available.
So, if you're in Melbourne and have a free afternoon, get on down to The Astor and help keep its Art Deco glory open to the public. My overseas readers can show their support by signing the 'Protect the Astor' petition here.