Star Theatre development on schedule

Work to refurbish and open the historic Star Theatre at Invermay is on schedule to be completed by summer.

SHOWBUSINESS: Theatre developer Andrew Qualie, Premier Will Hodgman, Bass MHA Sarah Courtney, Senator Jonathon Duniam and theatre developer Ben Davis. Picture: Scott Gelston

SHOWBUSINESS: Theatre developer Andrew Qualie, Premier Will Hodgman, Bass MHA Sarah Courtney, Senator Jonathon Duniam and theatre developer Ben Davis. Picture: Scott Gelston

This week building works began at the site, which its developers say will bring a world-class independent cinema to Launceston in one of the finest art deco theatres still in existence in Australia.

Permits and documentation for the development, co-owned by Ben Davis, Andrew Quaile and Paul Lee-Archer, have been granted and the renovations are on track to be complete by summer this year.

Mr Davis said Star would offer cutting-edge audio-visual technology with the latest in digital projection and surround sound.

A cafe and function space for up to 200 people will also be built. 

Mr Davis expects the space will create up to 20 full-time and casual roles and provide people a vibrant space to enjoy themselves.

"The cinema restoration is already having a positive economic effect in Launceston with many local businesses involved during the design and build phase," Mr Davis said.

“From the start of the development our focus has been on engaging local suppliers and employing local people. 

“We want to provide opportunities for others, like we had when we were growing up here in Launceston.”

Designed by Tasmanian-born architect, Guy Crick, the Star Theatre opened on October 5, 1937.

It ceased operation as a cinema in 1969, the year Premier Will Hodgman was born. 

Mr Hodgman toured the theatre with Tasmanian Senator Jonathon Duniam this week.

Senator Duniam praised the work of the trio in breathing new life into the stunning theatre.

“Small business is the backbone of our economy and to see what they’re doing here, albeit with the support of state and federal governments- is a great thing,” he said. 

Theatre developers received $200,000 from the Tasmanian Jobs and Investment Fund to progress their plans. 

Prior to the redevelopment the theatre operated as an outlet for St Vincent de Paul until April this year. 

“We are fortunate that so many of the original features of the building are still intact, all we need to do is celebrate what is still there, and bring it into the 21st Century, Mr Davis added. 

“We hope that the Star will be a catalyst for the development of a vibrant precinct surrounding the cinema an extension of the already thriving Inveresk and North Bank areas.” 

The development was one of 56 projects to receive a share in $24 million from the Tasmanian Jobs and Investment Fund.