The Sun Theatre now has 6 Boutique Art Deco Cinemas!
The entrance foyer
The Sun originally opened in 1938 and was a single screen 1050 seat cinema - the most luxurious in the area. Most Saturday's were fully booked at the Sun; both a booking office and ticket counter were used to handle the large crowds. The SUN BOOKSHOP was the original candy bar. Imagine the buzz on a Saturday night which regularly sold out and 1050 patrons were in the foyer. Today we seat only 660 over 6 boutique cinemas, but, we still think our foyer gets mighty busy. Unique to the cinema was the pram room where babies in their prams were placed and given a number, if your baby started crying, your number was flashed on the screen. During the 50's and 60's TV was the new novelty and the crowds dwindled. To satisfy the new population in Yarraville the SUN became a Greek cinema in the 60's. It was eventually closed by the Health department for unsanitary carpets! The SUN became derelict over the next twenty years until the current owners purchased it in 1995. It was in a sad state, a mecca for white ants and a roof so leaky, the plaster ceiling had caved in on the seats. Vagrants had been at it too, graffiti and pilfering of many of the original art deco features had reduced her to little more than 4 brick walls. As the real estate agents would say "a true renovators dream!" The new owners began one of Melbourne’s most popular film societies from 1998 to 2003 which encouraged them to go all out and bring the SUN back to glory. The large auditorium has been divided into 4 cinemas and another 2 cinemas have recently been added to some land at the rear. Six stunning cinemas, all detailed in the art deco style, many with original details are now open to the public and screening the latest new release films.
The Sun neon sign, Yarraville's own icon!
What makes a great cinema?
“S S S S”: Rock Kirby, the visionary founder of Village, had a saying that there were three ingredients that made a great cinema - SSS - Seating, Screens and Sound – we have made these three of prime importance, but added one more – Style, so with a mix of new and old we believe we have created Melbourne’s best cinema outing.
Art Deco Style: Along with the original auditorium, we have an additional five new cinemas. But don’t let that word “new” mislead you, they are within the original cinema. At 1050 seats, it was a huge space, and all of the original Art Deco architecture has been maintained and enhanced within the new auditoriums. What we have created is unique in Melbourne, a 6 screen boutique cinema, where all of the screens have the original style of architecture.
Seating and leg room: One of the most popular features of the current cinema is the original club seating – we have scoured the country side to find more of these seats. They have all been fully refurbished with new scrumptious Suede upholstery. All seats will continue to share a coffee table and the leg room is still the best in town.
The rear of each of the three large cinemas will have a couch and coffee table at the back that will be able to be booked in advance, look out for these coming soon.
Screens and Sound: The shape and layout of the cinemas has been worked around screen size and proportion, to maximize picture size between the ratios without making it so large as to be un-watchable. The sound will utilize digital decoding, with the Grand cinema having the latest 3 way sound system from Krix. Pictures come from the 1950’s generation - four of our cinemas are fitted with German Bauer B-14's and two with Bauer U-3's.. We’ll resort to a cliché – “They don’t build ‘em like they used to,” and certainly, these projectors are without equal, from an era when engineering came before outsourcing, cost cutting, unionised work forces, enterprise bargain agreements, flexi-time, credit cards, tertiary fees, fringe benefits tax and frivolous law suits.
We are licensed inside the cinemas.
Multiplexes number their cinemas, we name them. The local cinemas that are remembered with affection by the locals return in name at least to the Sun.
The last of the local cinemas to close, was run by Yarraville’s very own Yoda - Brian Davis, who before that was a projectionist at the Sun, as he is again today! Our largest cinema, utilizing the original stalls and proscenium area of the Sun, it is the image in my mind that for the last few years has inspired the path forward. The Wurlitzer organ (coming soon), revealing itself from the floor below the screen, is from the original Grand and has been kindly donated by Brian. Another feature is a 35mm and 70mm projector, so that some of the large film classics can be seen at the Sun, with a large screen and DTS digital sound to accompany.
The Grand truly lives up to it's name with art deco elegance.
The once fabulous Footscray cinema, is the new name for the current cinema, based in the dress circle of the original Sun. Fully refurbished with our new seats, tables for your drinks and more spacious aisles for comfort.
The long closed Hoyts cinema in Footscray is the inspiration for the new 95 seat cinema, featuring parts of the original plaster where possible, and new sections created from a mould created off an original section made by Pictons and Hopkin of Fitzroy. We think the result is very exciting, the main curtain is unique with an opening mechanism that we have made just for this room.
The Trocadero is intimate and stylish.
The second cinema in good ole 3013 in Stephen Street, that after closing has been Swanston’s Engineering and a sweat shop, is now our local vet and a bunch of ultra groovy warehouse apartments, is the namesake for the new lounge cinema. Originally planned to be our private screening room. we have instead put in 38 luscious leather lounge chairs in couch and single combinations....with coffee tables of course, and despite the extra comfort and leg room, the same price as the other cinemas. Call it First Class, Le Premiere, Gold, Platinum, whatever… it's fun.
Named after the cinemas principal benefactor who was a projectionist at the SUN in the 50's and for some time owned and operated the GRAND cinema in Footscray. All of our Bauer B-14's, the Wurlitzer organ, the telegrams and many more precious items of memorabilia have been donated by Brian and we dedicate this 100 seat cinema to his generosity. An art deco rose motif is included in the detailing of the illuminated side wall panels, the stunning lead light oval shade in the centre, the appliqued curtains and the foyer lighting. We know you will love this cinema with great sight lines, huge leg room and big sound.
Named after the Barkly Street Italian cinema where Gina Lollabrigida and La Dolce Vite were on screen regulars. Luxurious comfort is the feature of this auditorium. Fifty-two very comfortable leather couches and singles are generously spaced for your viewing pleasure. A local artist, Esther Ruiz has created 2 triptych's, Red Girl and Fur Girl which create an atmosphere of sophistication capped on with a hand painted gold curtain. I love watching films in this cinema and many of our regulars now ask "What's showing in La Scala today?"