It’s been a very difficult and emotional weekend as our announcement has reached far and beyond 100,000 people. We have received thousands of messages across email, twitter, Facebook, this blog, through our website and of course at the theatre itself. There has been an incredible and surmounting support for what we do here at the Astor Theatre, for that we are grateful and humbled.
A number of questions have arisen from those messages and though we do our best to reply personally to every query we receive, we feel that it might be best to address here some of what is most frequently asked.
IS THE BUILDING HERITAGE LISTED?
The building, the land, the 1929 Western Electric amplifier, original screen and original projector are registered. The details of that listing can be found in the Victorian Heritage Database. The building is also listed on the National Trust register. This means that elements of the current building and site cannot be changed (i.e. the building cannot be demolished to put up an apartment complex).
What it does not protect, however, are other important aspects of what “The Astor” (the business inside the building) has cultivated for Melbourne cinema-goers. These include but are not limited to; the purpose (as a single screen cinema), the capacity of the auditorium, chattels, interior design, lighting, candy bar, office spaces, projection booth, etc.
Most significantly, Victorian Heritage and National Trust listings do not protect what you have come to know and love as The Astor Theatre: the entity that has created and maintained a unique cinema-going experience since 1982, under the proprietorship of George Florence. That includes but is not limited to; the unique programming, the Astor Calendar, our incredibly passionate and personable staff, Astor Choc-Ices, beloved theatre cats (Magenta, Marzipan), the very best in film and digital presentation, regular presentation of rare 35mm and 70mm film prints, masterful projection, personalised and genuine love and passion for cinema, cinema-going, film and so much more.
WHAT DOES THE LANDLORD INTEND TO DO?
This is unknown. We have not been told what the future plans are, only that they do not include us.
The following articles, that were published over the weekend, include comments from a spokesperson for Ralph Taranto, but they do not state clearly what will happen.
The Age; ‘The Astor Theatre to close in 2015′
CAN WE START A FUNDRAISING CAMPAIGN?
It is not advisable at this time to begin fundraising. Though we are most certainly moved by the overwhelming response from everyone and the intense passion we all share to keep the Astor as it is, we cannot, at this time, launch a fundraising campaign.
As far as we are aware, the landlord has no intention to sell the property. We appreciate your support very much but we cannot take money unless we know that there is an option to purchase.
We hope this serves to clear up some of your many questions. We also want to thank you for your unwavering love and support of what we do and absolutely encourage you to continue to visit the theatre and celebrate what’s so great about The Astor in the coming months.