Monday, 5 August 2013

Saving the Cygnet Cinema

The Cygnet Cinema needs our help. Built in 1938 by Jimmy Stiles, this Art Deco treasure has delighted our families for years. Graham, the manager, tells me that we are at the end of the road for celluloid film strips; it’s all going digital. Lots of us have talked about this for a few years. Now it’s time we got active to protect this wonder to enjoy it in the future. Will you help too, please?

To catch up on the conversation so far you can click on these links to my previous blogs:

2010 Cygnet Cinema Shines

2011 Preston Street  For Dinner

2012 Our Own  Future, Yes Please

2013 Save the Cygnet Cinema

Lots of people have joined the conversation. Here’s what they say. First off: before anything, what is our purpose? Perhaps it is to obtain and provide a digital projector. Tony Barber, a really good accountant, says that we should form an Incorporated Body, with a constitution. Then, my friends at the Institute of Company Directors say that we should form a Board of community representatives to manage governance. This is other people’s money after all. Would five be about the right number? Who should they be?

Tony and a local lawyer suggest that the body, not the cinema owners, should own the equipment. There would be other words about ultimate disposal and safeguards. We had a talk about charitable status and tax deductibility and concluded that was pretty unlikely.

Along the way I found two local suppliers of this digital equipment, so there’d be competitive pricing. One of the roles of the Board would be selecting a supplier. Costs are likely to be between fifty and one hundred thousand dollars. Management of funds would be the major responsibility in early stages. A continuing role would be the relationship with the owners, the Stiles family. I expect that contributions would come in both large and small sizes. We could use internet ‘crowd-funding’ to gather wide community support.

Suggested steps (please comment below):

  • meet at the Cygnet Esther Girls coffee shop
  • form a group, with a name and a purpose
  • meet with owners (regularly)
  • obtain price quotes
  • write a constitution with safeguards
  • register an Incorporated Body
  • set up a single-purpose account
  • seek commitments and deposits
  • (funds returned if no action taken)
  • obtain equipment
  • arrange with owners re installation

Graham, the manager, says that December will see the closure of the Cygnet if we can’t find a way through this. If we do nothing the Cygnet will crumble in neglect. With your help it will shine.

Please add comments below, or email me, so we can all benefit from your wisdom and vision.


Bicycle trips per year on South Perth foreshore: 600,000 +

Bicycle trips per year on Freeway bike path: one million +



Kate Doust MLC said...

What can I do to help? Have always been a big fan of the Cygnet and it would be a travesty to see it disappear from the community. Let me know if I can be of any assistance.

Kate Doust MLC

Don Pearce said...

Hi Pete ,
When Pam and I were courting more than 60 years ago ,the Cygnet on Saturday night was one of our regular dates and is still one of our regular outings.

I agree that $100000 is not a large amount these days and could be raised easily .I did suggest to the theatre that a $10 levee ( voluntarily ) on ticket sales
would raise that in a short time . It must be saved and we would like to be part of any campaign .

Please keep us informed.

Regards Don

Anonymous said...

My parents bought their House in Como in 1941 and all our family have grown up there...we used to go to the movies every Friday night and remember well the outdoor movies in the deck would be a shame to see this theatre close...maybe run movies with the money to go towards new equipment and advertise it far and wide..have special nights...would love to see the outdoor movies come back is one in a million and should be kept going...
Pauline. Elshaw