Sunday, January 13, 2008

village twin cinema

One of my favorite memories of Brisbane is sitting in either the Blue or Purple Rooms of the Village Twin Cinema in New Farm and having the stress of the day wash over me in a spectacular show of light and colour.
The building is on the Queensland Heritage Register, but approval has been given to demolish part of it because it has been declared dangerous and wreckers will soon smash through another of our fond memories.
The Ron G Monsborough designed Village Twin at New Farm opened in late 1970 and was the first twin cinema complex in Queensland. It was a renovation of the Astor Theatre (c1921) and was added to the Queensland Heritage Register for its distinctive late 1960s/early 1970s design. 

The Telegraph described Ron G Monsborough as ‘acknowledged as a leading Australian cinema design architect’ and that the Village Twin ‘is the best example of his outstanding ability in this field.’
The contrast between the sleek design of the foyer and the vivid light and colour in the cinemas intensifies the sense of escapism and fantasy common to cinema design.
The Blue Room is the larger and more ornate of the two cinemas. The most obvious feature is the vaulted ceiling, a plaster moonscape concealing red, blue and green lights.
The Purple Room has a gentle ambience with the ceiling also a significant feature. The ceiling is vaulted with floating, sprayed vermiculite, square panels over concealed purple lighting and translucent purple resin light boxes. Carpet of the same design as the Blue Room but in shades of purple and mauve completes the design.
Next on the agenda for the Village Twin is a new proposal to develop the rear of the site. It has been stated that the proposal would not detract from the 1960/70s design and representatives from the New Farm Historical Society, local community, youth groups and Brisbane City Council would be involved in a focus group to oversee this project.

I would love to hear comments from any of our readers as we say goodbye to this Brisbane icon.



Anonymous said...

I am devastated to hear that this cinema is going. What a shame. It also holds such wonderful memories for me. When I was a student I lived around the corner from the New Farm twin and large groups of us would meet and have a joint then go off to the cinema to marvel at the vaulted ceilings it was more fun seeing most of the films.
Claire Stanic

David Halliday said...

My Grandfather George Halliday was the builder/owner of the original Merthyr Picture palace in 1921 on the site of the Village Twin Cinema. It was an open air cinema, and it was nearly immediately demolished in 1921 when a rival picture show owner tried to suggest that my grandfather had built an outside wall too far over the legal boundary. But the city surveyors deemed the construction legal. David Halliday 07 3264 5711 or 0412 645 711