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Back on Deckie

DARWIN’S BELOVED OUTDOOR cinema is throwing open the doors this month, set to light up with cinematic gems until November. We caught up with Deckchair Cinema’s General Manager James Parker for a chat.

The Deckchair is back! What’s on the cards for 2021?
We’re so excited to be able to open in 2021 and welcome our members and customers back to the cinema. It’s really strange seeing the cinema empty during the Wet season, so when we open the gates on opening night and people come flooding into the cinema, it’s a magical feeling for everyone working here.

This Wet season we’ve gotten rid of the woodchip that was under the seats and installed artificial turf. It was tricky finding the right supplier, and we have strict green ethical policy, but our Operations Manager Damien Johns found an eco-friendly option manufactured from sugar cane waste over in Queensland. There’s loads of other small changes around the cinema, too many to list here, so you’ll have to come and see for yourselves.

Do you know when you will reach full capacity?
We’re opening the year with a capacity of 75 percent. It’s been a really difficult decision, with valid arguments to go to full capacity or stay at half, as we closed last season. We gave the decision to our risk committee in the end. The various committees at the cinema are fantastic and I was glad to hand that tricky decision over to them. We’ll review it program by program based on the advice and recommendations from NT Health.

How’s that new projector going?
The new projector! I almost forgot! That is a huge change this season. With the new laser projector, we have the brightness to screen early sessions at 7pm. It’s such an awesome sight to have a Territory sunset happening while the movie starts.

The new projector is 35,000 lumens – which, of course, won’t mean a lot to most – but in comparison, the old projector was just 16,000 lumens, so it’s more than double. The change is positive for everyone, with some kids’ movies ending just after 8pm. The late sessions will also be less late, so the grown ups can be in bed at a reasonable hour, too!

Tell us about the opening night event!
Opening night is Firestarter: The Story of Bangarra. It’s a deeply personal look at the three Page brothers and the Bangarra Dance Theatre they founded. A couple of years ago, we opened with Spear – the first feature Stephen Page directed and it was a beautiful way to start the season. It’s great to be able to continue the story and take a deep dive into the roots of the world-renowned dance company.

Thank you all again for the amazing support in 2020, we can’t wait to welcome you back again for 2021.

Deckchair Cinema Opening Night - Firestarter: The Story of Bangarra

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