The Kempsey Bandbox Theatre will re-open for the summer and will screen a range of movies for locals to enjoy.
In a post on the South West Roxy Facebook page today, owner of the South West Roxy cinema Andrew Mercado announced he will be opening the doors to the Bandbox Theatre for the summer.
“From Boxing Day, I will be re-opening the Bandbox Theatre in Kempsey for summer. Together with the South West Roxy cinema, we will premiere Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle with The Rock which is going to be a great film for the family.
“The Bandbox will also exclusively screen the new hit film Paddington 2! The Roxy and The Bandbox will both screen Pitch Perfect 3 from New Year's Day and also expect to see there Coco and Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” the post read.
The announcement follows last week’s council decision to move ahead with the Kempsey Cinema project.
Locals took to Facebook to voice their excitement over the temporary re-opening of the Bandbox as a cinema and discussed the Kempsey Cinema project.
“Instead of building a new cinema why not put the money into the Bandbox make it two stories high with a cafe and cinema on top as well,” one commenter stated.
“Would rather see the Bandbox re-opened than a new cinema partially funded by council. Can’t wait to see you over Christmas,” another commenter said.
However, others stated that the Bandbox is too small and not in a central location to the Kempsey CBD.
“The Bandbox is not a viable solution. It’s not near enough to town or West Kempsey shops to support them. Major upgrades needed and who is going to put up the money for it. Council is assisting Gowings with $2 million but Gowings are also putting up money for the Cinema project,” another commenter stated.
In a community consultation process held in July, council responsed to suggestions of an upgrade to the Bandbox Theatre instead of an entirely new cinema complex.
Council said the Bandbox did not meet two major criteria needed in the consideration of a suitable cinema for the community.
“A range of potentially suitable locations were considered during the project's early stages, with two major criteria of the ability to find a landlord with the willingness and capacity to invest in the project (Gowing Bros is contributing upward of $2m to the project including meeting all potential construction cost overruns), and a central CBD location that is convenient, practical and appealing to maximise attendance numbers and associated commercial benefits to businesses," council said.
Council will publish the details of the funding arrangements for the Kempsey Cinema project at which point locals will have a minimum of 28 days to provide submissions.