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Lumière cinema to open at the Arts Centre of Christchurch

Published: Wed 5 Dec 2018 05:10 PM
MEDIA RELEASE 5 December 2018
Lumière cinema to open at the Arts Centre of Christchurch te Matatiki Toi Ora
The golden days of cinema are set to return to Ōtautahi with the opening of a new boutique cinema at the Arts Centre te Matatiki Toi Ora.
Lumière will be co-owned and managed by well-known cinephile Nick Paris, who has worked in Christchurch’s cinema and film industry for 40 years. Max Hoffman, a former screenwriter who wrote for several major film studios in Hollywood, is also a co-owner.
Arts Centre chief executive Philip Aldridge said Lumière was the perfect fit for the Arts Centre, which received several high-quality operator proposals.
“Nick is synonymous with film in Christchurch and wants the cinema to be a 365-day film festival, which is a brilliant ambition. We’re excited to have him and Max – who are both very experienced and passionate – bring cinema back home to the Arts Centre te Matatiki Toi Ora.
“They believe in our vision of creating a centre of the arts and a hub for creativity with many rich layers of experiences. We look forward to seeing the cinematic world they create.”
Situated in the Arts Centre’s West Lecture building next to the Great Hall, Lumière will have two theatres, state-of-the-art technology, vintage ambience, luxurious seating and a focus on service.
The complex will also feature an intimate, retreat bar, The Bijou Bar, featuring locally-sourced refreshments and overlooking the Christchurch Botanic Gardens and Rolleston Avenue.
It is expected to open around Easter 2019.
Nick says Lumière will offer filmgoers a unique experience bringing the magic of cinema to Christchurch.
“Lumière will remind us what it means to go to the cinema – a true event – in a world where people watch films under duvets and on their mobile phones.”
There will be a strong focus on curated films that will inform, inspire and challenge audiences and the cinema hopes to collaborate with local film-makers, artists and musicians, he says.
The Arts Centre was home to cinemas from 1976 until the February 2011 earthquake significantly damaged many buildings and resulted in the closure of the entire centre. The $290 million restoration programme began in 2012 with buildings being progressively restored and reopened.
Background
The Arts Centre te Matatiki Toi Ora
The Arts Centre te Matatiki Toi Ora, is a precious taonga with a rich heritage as a centre for education, arts, culture and creativity dating back to 1877 when it housed Canterbury College (now the University of Canterbury). It also originally housed Christchurch Girls’ High School and Christchurch Boys’ High School.
Since 1978 it has been the Arts Centre, an independent charitable trust for the people of Canterbury and its visitors. It is now under the Arts Centre of Christchurch Trust Act 2015, an act of Parliament.
It is the largest collection of category one heritage buildings in New Zealand (21 buildings).
Many of the historic buildings at the Arts Centre were significantly damaged during the February 2011 earthquake.
The centre’s $290 million restoration programme is the largest of its type in the world. It is anticipated it will take a total of 10 years.
The centre is being progressively re-opened to the public and so far, 11 of the 23 buildings are open. Tremendous progress has been made and momentum, to date, has been strong.
The centre’s restored buildings are significant landmarks and attractions, as well as platforms for modern activities and experiences, including education, boutique retailers, eateries, galleries and museums. It is home to more than 25 organisations.
Though the Arts Centre received a reasonable insurance settlement after the Canterbury earthquakes, the cost of carrying out both earthquake strengthening and restoration using heritage materials and traditional techniques is very expensive (around $25,000 per square metre).
The cinema space
The West Lecture building opened in 1917 and housed Canterbury College’s largest lecture theatre. It was originally used mainly by the history department and for public lectures, but later it contained the women’s common room.
Upstairs in the restored and strengthened West Lecture building will be four apartments for artists, scientists and writers in residence.
In the School of Art, the neighbouring building, which is also part of the first stage of the Arts Centre te Matatiki Toi Ora’s restoration, there will be office spaces, as well as community spaces for hire at subsidised rates.
The cinema, combined with other Arts Centre offerings, will offer a complete entertainment and leisure experience that combines film, food and beverage, and special events that create a complete “night out” experience for audiences.

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