Shannon Davis, a manager at Sidney’s Star Cinema, and owner Sandy Oliver, are having a little bit of fun as they prepare for the temporary closure of Sidney’s Star Cinema. The theatre will show its last film at its current location on Sunday before moving to a temporary location for about 30 months. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

Shannon Davis, a manager at Sidney’s Star Cinema, and owner Sandy Oliver, are having a little bit of fun as they prepare for the temporary closure of Sidney’s Star Cinema. The theatre will show its last film at its current location on Sunday before moving to a temporary location for about 30 months. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

Curtain closes on Sidney’s Star Cinema location

The iconic theatre will move to a temporary location after its last showing Sunday

It has not hit them yet, but owner Sandy Oliver and her staff are about to say so long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, goodbye to the Star Cinema Sunday night. But local cinephiles can be sure that this movie is not the Last Picture Show.

More than 21 years after Oliver and her late sister Carolyn Lewis opened the Star Cinema at the corner of Sidney Avenue and Third Avenue, the theatre will close its doors at that location, then move to 9824 Fifth St. before returning to its current location, where it will re-emerge as part of the Cameo Condo project, a mixed commercial-residential development.

Oliver said she and her staff have not yet reached the sentimental stage, because of the work that remains ahead of them.

“People are saying, ‘Are you going to do anything special for the goodbye?’ To tell you the truth, we have so many other things on our mind about what we need to get ready,” said Oliver.

If everything goes according to plan, the theatre will be back in the picture so to speak one week after Sunday’s closure.

Casman Properties, which is building the Cameo Condo development, is handling all of the logistics, after having also secured and renovated the temporary location where the theatre plans to operate for a maximum of 30 months before returning.

Oliver said she and her staff will make the temporary location work until the new, refurbished space is available, thanks in part to Casman Properties, which is also covering rent at the temporary location and charging a below-market rate in the new space.

“They [Casman Properties] have gone beyond for the benefit of the community,” she said. General manager Lindsey Pomper agreed. “They are not doing it for us,” she said. “They are doing it for the community of Sidney.”

So how do you move a movie theatre? “They [Casman] are doing all that,” said Shannon Davis, a manager. “We just have to pack up what we need.”

The theatre is not just leaving a physical space. It, along with the audience, is also in a way saying goodbye to its character, charm and memories.

RELATED: New Star Cinema project approved

Pomper acknowledged this emotional aspect, but promised that the theatre’s sense of community would continue at the temporary location, which will even feature the same quirky furniture and decor.

“We are a very much a community theatre, and that is part of our value system,” said Pomper. “That is going to continue on no matter the space. But there are a lot of special memories here. We have had weddings, memorials, fundraisers and stuff like that. There are a lot of memories here. It’s a special place.”

One special occasion was the 2013 fundraiser that raised $185,000 for the cinema itself, an event that made national headlines because it happened during a time when many theatres were going out of business because of commercial pressures. The fundraiser helped the cinema purchase two digital projectors and new seating.

RELATED: A whole new Star

RELATED: Star is, oh, so close

“That was an amazing thing, and honestly, it really wouldn’t have happened without Lindsay [Gomper], because of her experiences in a non-profit.” Added Pomper, “[and] Susan Simosko [who helped to organize the fundraiser].”

This period was also an emotional period for Oliver, whose sister died of cancer on May 24, 2012, shortly after the start of the fundraising for the theatre.

“I think of Carolyn when I think of this place, and she will come with us,” said Pomper.

Oliver said the community’s response at the time was “outstanding.” People, she added, have since continued to show their appreciation for the theatre. As moving day approaches, audience members have been sharing their memories about the place in special book, with some even shedding tears. Many have also asked how they could help with the move.

Oliver plans to repay this support by maintaining the theatre’s sense of community, hospitality and uniqueness in the new, old location.

“We have always said it is not the cement that makes this a nice place,” said Oliver. “The building is not what does it. I don’t think we will ever make you feel that you are just a number walking through the door.”


Like us on Facebook and follow @wolfgang_depner

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Various Victoria locations were hit with a slew of anti-bylaw graffiti Wednesday. This image has been altered to cover up profane language. (Submitted photo)
UPDATED: Slew of anti-bylaw graffiti an ‘unacceptable’ form of communication says Victoria mayor, police

Downtown businesses, bylaw office and Ministry of Finance vandalized Wednesday morning

The Gordon Head Recreation Centre stands in as the Quimper Regional Hospital on Feb. 23 for filming Maid, a 10-part Netflix series. (Greg Sutton/District of Saanich)
Netflix transforms Saanich recreation centre into hospital for filming

Facility was closed to public Feb. 23 for filming of Maid

Greg Chow is the 2021 Local Hero of the Year. (Don Denton/Black Press Media)
Fighting fire a family affair for Colwood Assistant Chief Greg Chow

With 38 years of service, Greg Chow is the 2021 Hero of the Year

This rendering shows plans for the new “flyover”overpass connecting northbound traffic on Highway 17 heading west on Keating Cross Road. Plans currently seeking public input propose two options for the median along Keating Cross Road. Option 1 will prevent left turns onto Tamany Drive and Buena Vista Road. Option 2 (seen here)will allow for left turns onto Tamany Drive and Bujena Vista Road. (Screencap/Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure)
Public asked for comment on proposed overpass for Pat Bay in Central Saanich

New flyover overpass proposed for Highway 17 and Keating Cross Road

Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.'s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
456 new COVID-19 cases in B.C., 2 deaths

Since January 2020, 78,278 have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in B.C.

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Feb. 23

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(Black Press Media File Photo)
POLL: Are you struggling with Greater Victoria’s cost of housing?

While Victoria remains one of the most expensive cities in the country… Continue reading

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
Vaccinating essential workers before seniors in B.C. could save lives: experts

A new study says the switch could also save up to $230 million in provincial health-care costs

Photograph By @KAYLAXANDERSON
VIDEO: Lynx grabs lunch in Kamloops

A lynx surprises a group of ducks and picks one off for lunch

When his owner had knee surgery, Kevin, 2, was able to continue to go for walks thanks to volunteers from Elder Dog Canada. (Contributed photo)
B.C. woman has nothing but praise for Elder Dog Canada

National organization has a fleet of volunteer walkers ready, but needs more clients to serve

Two women were arrested in Nanaimo for refusing to wear masks and causing disturbance on a BC Ferries vessel. (File photo)
B.C. ferry passengers arrested and fined for disturbance, refusing to wear masks

Police said woman threatened their pensions in Feb. 21 incident aboard Nanaimo-bound boat

A Nanaimo RCMP vehicle in the Woodgrove Centre parking lot. (News Bulletin file photo)
Woman groped by stranger in mall parking lot in Nanaimo

Incident happened near bus loop Saturday, Feb. 20, at about 4:45 p.m.

The late Michael Gregory, 57, is accused of sexually exploiting six junior high students between 1999 and 2005. (Pixabay)
Former Alberta teacher accused of sexually assaulting students found dead in B.C.

Mounties say Michael Gregory’s death has been deemed ‘non-suspicious’

Most Read