Yes! We’re very excited to announce that we have been working with the ANU over the past three years on the development of a purpose-built cinema that is intended as a new home for the ANU Film Group.
The new theatre will be purpose-built as a cinema, designed from the ground up for film viewing, rather than a lecture theatre that has been retrofitted. It will have approximately 300 cinema-style seats with high backs, arranged in a stadium-style configuration and at a gradient for optimal film viewing.
We are presently working with the ANU on our technical requirements, but the theatre will feature an all-new screen, projector and sound system. These will all be at least comparable, if not better, than our current set up in the Coombs Theatre. There is no plan at this stage for the new theatre to be equipped with 35mm or 16mm film equipment, or for our existing equipment to be relocated.
The new theatre will form part of the ANU’s new Kambri precinct, which is the redeveloped area formerly known as Union Court. The Kambri precinct represents the largest change to the ANU campus since its establishment, and will include a number of state-of-the-art new buildings and facilities. You can find out more about the redevelopment at www.reunioncourt.com.au
The new theatre will be located on the ground floor of the Kambri precinct’s cultural and events building. Also in this space will be a large multi-function concert and performing arts auditorium, smaller functions spaces, a drama theatre and student residences. There will also be a mixture of retail, food and beverage, and lifestyle services – all open throughout the year with extended operating hours – including restaurants, fast food outlets, a book store, a supermarket, a pub, a wine bar and a gym.
The large auditorium is positioned on the other end of the ground floor of the building, and we have been assured that the construction of the building includes the best possible sound insulation practices.
In addition to nearby outdoor parking along North Road, the cultural and events building will include underground parking with capacity for at least 400 cars. Whether or not this will be paid parking is yet to be determined, as the ANU has yet to select a parking operator, but we will be making a case for it to be made free after hours and on weekends.
The ANU Film Group will still operate independently in the programming of our screenings and the running of the new theatre, but the overall cultural and events building will be managed by an external events management company, which the ANU is currently in the process of selecting. We have been assured that we will be a key stakeholder for both the ANU and the eventual events management team in the utilisation of the new theatre going forward.
The current plan is for construction on the building – and the Kambri precinct – to be completed by early next year, in time for the start of screenings in Semester One 2019. Weather and other unavoidable delays may affect this, however, but we will keep you up to date on its progress as we know more.
We are unaware of the ANU’s plans for the Coombs Theatre at this stage, but we would imagine it would continue operating as one of the largest lecture theatres on campus. We do not envisage running ANU Film Group screenings at both the new theatre and the Coombs Theatre.
We anticipate that there may be some changes to the way the ANU Film Group operates at the new theatre, but don’t presently have enough information to make any decisions on this.
Plans for a new home for the ANU Film Group first came about in early 2015, but we were hesitant to announce this to our members as it certainly wasn’t the first time a new theatre – or even new seating – was promised, only for it to eventually fall through. Fortunately, this new theatre appears to be going ahead as planned so we are excited to finally be able to share the news.
We will be keeping all of you up to date on the progress of the new theatre through our official channels (mailing list, Facebook page, website) as we get more information in the coming months. This FAQ page will also be updated with new information as it becomes available. We also anticipate running an information session for our members sometime in Semester Two 2018.
Ask us! While there are a lot of questions we may not have answers to at this stage, we will try our best to answer any questions you might have about the new theatre. Our contact details are available here for more information.