Sarah Jayne is a freelance and creative writer, life model, filmmaker and art director currently residing in Elwood - her current film Daughter is touring to make changes in society-
Over 1000 people came together on Saturday 16th of June to show their support to save Melbourne's last remaining single screen picture theatre, The Astor Theatre. The Astor has the capacity to hold 1,1150 patrons which is quite amazing and I can tell you every seat was filled as people were even sitting in the aisles to be a part of this memorable day.
The Astor being an independently run business receives no funding and in 2015 the lease will end, leaving The Astor Theatre's future unknown. It is sad to think that the lease may not be renewed and that the next generation may have to grow up without this magical picture house.
As the speeches were made the crowd sat silent and attentive. Guest speaker Steven Curry told us what The Astor meant to him and he made the crowd laugh as he gave his speech and we all realised that most of us grew up with The Astor Theatre poster stuck on the toilet door of our share houses. Another Australian, radio host Tracey Bartram also had her say though a video that was specially prepared for the event.
After the speeches staff armed the patrons with thousands of Jafers which were rolled down the aisles in unison and the sound that this caused was quite unique, even from the top row where I sat it sounded amazing. We topped off the afternoon by sitting united in silence as we watched the cult classic Labyrinth, starring Davie Bowie as we munched on the free popcorn.
On leaving, patrons had the chance to sign up to be a 'Friend Of The Astor' by sharing some simple details and paying a small fee of $20 for full adults and $15 for concession, which goes towards saving The Astor and also a great way to have your say and show your support. Mingling with the crowd in the downstairs foyer after the movie was the resident cat, Marzipan who had his picture taken with a few patrons including a young boy dressed as James Bond.
What happens to the Astor after 2015 is yet unclear but one thing is for sure, we don't want to lose this great icon to its dreary fate of becoming a school uniform shop.
The website is the best way to keep up to date with what is showing and when and the Facebook page is also there to check out, as well as the Friends of The Astor Page on Facebook which currently has a petition to sign to save the Astor. The petition takes two minutes to sign, last I checked the numbers were over 13,000 and the target is 15,000 so it is doing quite well.
Make sure you pop in to the theatre and escape the winter blues, here you can also find the poster with the current films showing so you too can be part of the Melbourne tradition and stick one up on your toilet door.