Not curtains yet for cinema

Town's only cinema may be up for rent

LUCY TOWNEND
Last updated 12:00 22/11/2012
Cinema STD
DAVID UNWIN/Fairfax NZ
BIG REEL: Dannevirke's Regent Cinema owner Darlene Amboy in front of the the oldest provincial cinema in the country.

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The owner of the Dannevirke theatre has confirmed the town's only cinema may be up for rent.

Regent Cinema owner Darlene Amboy said she had heard the rumours of an impending lease change circulating online.

She said she had been contacted by real estate agents earlier this week.The property was definitely not for sale, but renting was a possibility, she said.

"I'm not going to be giving it away anytime soon, but there are a few people who are interested in leasing it," she said.

Miss Amboy bought the property more than 10 years ago for $270,000.

There is an apartment above the theatre.

After splitting with her business partner earlier this year, Miss Amboy said it was difficult to run the 200-seat cinema alone and she was forced to close it.

Recent interest about leasing it out had encouraged her to think about rejuvenating the cinema.

She said she planned to begin giving it a new coat of paint this week.

"Closing it was only temporary, but basically it's looking quite positive that it will reopen soon."

Miss Amboy hoped it would be for Christmas, but it depended on whether a new lease holder could be finalised.

"At the end of the day there is not a lot of entertainment here in Dannevirke.

"The theatre is good for the town.

"It's well known for the uniqueness of the place.

"It's has a big screen, a balcony and the old sign saying it's the oldest provincial cinemas in the country is still in place.

"I will definitely leave the sign like that," she said.

The theatre is still able to use it's traditional 35 millimetre big reel films, but Miss Amboy was interested in taking the theatre into the digital age, and even 3D.

But there were some issues to be ironed out before the desired December opening date, including the building's "warrant of fitness".

"It's not to do with the structure of the building, it's about regulation and standards that need to be complied, like fire exits, fire alarms and those kind of things."

The most interest, mediated by a real estate agent, had come from Christchurch-based Bradley Knewstubb, she said.

Mr Knewstubb was unable to be reached for comment.

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- Manawatu Standard

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