THE last person to enjoy Scone’s Civic Theatre in all its glory has praised current owner Professor Minas Coroneo for restoring the Kelly Street landmark.
Paul Brennan, internationally-recognised as one of Australia’s most successful cinema businessmen and studio historians, ran the facility for five years from 1988 to 1992.
And, during that time, the town revelled in such blockbusters as Crocodile Dundee 2, Good Morning Vietnam, Dead Poet’s Society, Dirty Dancing and the Timothy Dalton era of James Bond.
“I was only in my early 30s back then,” he said.
“But, it [Civic Theatre] was in ruins when I arrived.
“I ‘rescued’, renovated and reopened the 1938-deco ‘ocean liner’ design premises at Easter, in 1988, to box office success and enduring applause.
“It was a popular design [very beautiful] – and took you on a journey.
“You boarded a wonderful ‘vessel’ and left your daily life behind because the destination was the screen.
“In fact, a lot of other theatres in the country adopted that [art deco] style.
“It cost me about $100,000 in the end.
“However, I turned it into a city cinema in a country town.
“So, I’m very proud of what I did.
“And, to be honest, it was five of the happiest years of my life.
“The cinema virtually revitalised the northern end of the town – we put a lot of money back into Scone.
“I remember Tim Ollerton and Margaret Wynn working for me, too.”
Mr Brennan, the man behind PTB Screen – Celebrating Cinema, is “absolutely delighted” Professor Coroneo will bring the building “back to life again”.
“Since 2000, the place has fallen into serious decline,” he lamented.
“That was disappointing in itself.
“Not many people know this, but it’s the last remaining cinema of its type in Australia.
“All of them have gone now.
“So, it’s great to see Minas put his money where his mouth is.
“Scone’s such a lucky town in every conceivable way.
“It’s one of Australia’s most pristine places.
“And, the Civic Theatre is a historic treasure – it’s certainly irreplaceable in its current form.”