Theatre to bring arthouse charm to New Gisborne

A 32-seat arthouse theatre designed to evoke memories of the grand old cinemas of the 1940s is due to open at New Gisborne’s Baringo complex in September.

Site owner Gary Harley, who with wife Pauline has owned the former Whistlestop Hotel and surrounding land since 1998, said construction of the theatre was progressing well and would add to broader renovations including a bar, bistro and wine store.

The theatre, which will feature plush leather chairs and ‘‘lots of crimson and gold’’, will also be used for functions, lectures and recitals.

Mr Harley said it was an exciting part of a $50 million vision for a community ‘‘centrepoint’’ offering entertainment, food, wine and accommodation.

‘‘We’re just trying to build on that whole village theme,’’ he said. ‘‘New Gisborne is a beautiful village that hasn’t really had any sort of commercial hub until now.

‘‘This is meant to create a true centre for the community.’’

Mr Harley said the theatre was modelled on the success of other venues, such as The Sun at Yarraville.

‘‘There will be movies on every day,’’ he said.

‘‘We haven’t set the program yet, but it will be very nostalgic; it will be classic and European.

‘‘Our whole project is really about bringing that inner city, urban edge feel into a rural, regional area.’’

Mr Harley said the development, which has already created 20 new jobs, had been a phenomenal success.

‘‘I think our workforce will grow to something like 40,’’ he said, citing other plans for cottage accommodation and a 66-lot residential development behind the hotel site.