Sawtell’s iconic cinema set to sparkle again

The wait to see what the interior of the refurbished Sawtell Cinema will look like won't be much longer.
The wait to see what the interior of the refurbished Sawtell Cinema will look like won't be much longer.

SAWTELL Cinema will reopen to the public on December 17, three years after it was closed.

Opening the doors will be a triumphant moment for the team of local investors, film and heritage enthusiasts who have been determined to bring the Sawtell treasure back to life.

The first film to be screened is expected to be Star Wars Episode 7: The Force Awakens, the newest instalment in the long-running space odyssey, which will be released on the cinema's opening day.

The 1956 building has been a hive of activity for months as Ann and Oliver Gee from G2 Architects; Coffs Harbour builders FM Glenn and project director and manager Rebecca Wark and Mark Brockbank from Polestar Projects work through the process of transforming the interior, creating a 139-seat theatre and a smaller 49-seat theatre for less mainstream films.

"It is very exciting - and nerve-wracking," said the chairwoman of the group of 19 investors who now own the building, Jill Nash.

"Majestic Cinemas are going to be running the cinema and now we are just at the point of creating a cinema that they can occupy and manage."

"If Majestic's programs (in other cinemas) are anything to go by, they will tailor their programs to suit the population around them."

Jill said the overall cost of the project, including buying the building and refurbishing the interior, was more than $2.4 million, but the hugely successful crowd funding campaign had allowed them to buy new seats and a new screen.

Crowd funding organiser Stephanie Ney said the campaign had raised $142,000,one of the highest figures in the country, demonstrating how much the community wanted their cinema back.

The new seats arrived this week, their burnt orange upholstery specially chosen to match the carpet design in the main theatre, which Jill described as " a sort of art deco with a modern look."

She said some of the theatre's art deco features had been retained and the building now had toilets which were "inside and very classy"

The old cinema was notorious for its outdoor toilets.

An invitation-only opening and screening of the movie Suffragette will be held ahead of the public opening for the major contributors to the project.


  • Investors have spent more than $2.4 million to buy the building and refurbish the interior.
  • A crowd funding campaign raised an astonishing record $145,000 to pay for new seats and screen
  • The cinema will reopen to the public just after midnight on December 17, screening Star Wars Episode 7: The Force Awakens

Topics:  movies sawtell sawtell cinema star wars

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