It’s lights, cameras and action for Sidney’s Star Cinema in its new, temporary location in the 9800-block of Fifth St.
“It feels good and it also feels nerve-wracking,” general manager Lindsey Pomper said before last weekend’s re-opening with screenings of Knives Out and Dark Water. With one screen and less seats, moviegoers will have a different experience, she said, admitting the new scenario was making her a little nervous.
Star Cinema, which screened its last movie Dec. 8 at its historic location at the corner of Sidney Avenue and Third Street, will operate or up to 30 months out of a space once occupied by Sidney Buy & Sell. The theatre will return to its original location as part of the Cameo Condo development, a mixed commercial-residential project being developed by Casman Properties.
The business had initially hoped to re-open at its temporary location within a week.
“Anytime you move, you always think it is going to be easier than it actually is, and I think this was the case here,” said Pomper. “Everybody worked really hard, but there was just a lot [to do] to condense everything into a smaller space. Everything takes more time than you anticipated. That was the most challenging aspect.”
Pomper said another complication was the timing of the move over the Christmas season.
“Not everyone was available, but it all worked out in the end.” The turnaround was shortened with the help of several community volunteers, one of whom sewed a curtain for the concessions. “It is just another example of how Sidney out-does itself for the theatre, and we are just so thankful for the support that we get. It’s really sweet to have that type of support.”
The temporary location features one screening room with about 70 seats, down from two screening rooms with a total of 275 seats.
So what, if any, advantage does the undeniably smaller location offer?
“I think the biggest thing is saying ‘thank you’ to Casman Properties that we can be open during the construction period [of the Cameo],” Pomper said. “That in itself is a huge advantage, that we can still continue to show movies.”
Having only one screen will require some creativity. “We are in a period of trial and error. There are still things to be worked out and how we best use this space. We are looking forward to feedback from customers to see what works for them and what doesn’t. This is a community theatre and we need to have community feedback to make this space work as best as possible over this next two-and-a-half years.”