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

Starting in June, Government Street will be closed to most vehicles between Humboldt and View streets. A section of Government Street was transformed into a pedestrian-priority walkway in the wake of COVID-19. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria plans 10-hour closures of Government Street come June

City’s business relief plan extended, Government St. from Humboldt to View closed noon to 10 p.m.

Cyclists cruised around Saanich at the 2017 Cycling Festival. (Black Press Media file photo)
Saanich scavenger hunt replaces annual Cycling Festival

Participants encouraged to ‘walk or roll’ to 20 secret sites, submit photo proof for prizes

As part of the province’s strategy to combat the opioid overdose crisis, take-home naloxone kits have been distributed throughout the province. (Courtesy of Gaëlle Nicolussi)
Vancouver Island could be at its worst point of overdose crises yet: medical health officer

Island Health issued overdose advisories for Victoria, various communities in the last two weeks

A member of the Belmont Secondary School in Langford has tested positive for COVID-19, the Sooke School District announced Thursday afternoon. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Positive COVID-19 case identified at Belmont Secondary School in Langford

Other school members could’ve been exposed on April 20

This photo shows crews the fire at 7987 Galbraith Cres. that caused extensive damage and displaced six residents early Sunday morning. (Central Saanich Fire/Department Twitter)
Central Saanich rallies around couple who lost home of 25 years

A GoFundMe campaign is currently underway for Carla and Brian Wallace

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Joe Biden smile as they say farewell following a virtual joint statement in Ottawa, Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau pledges to cut emissions by 40% to 45% by 2030, short of U.S. goal

Trudeau announced target during a virtual climate summit convened by U.S. President Joe Biden

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: Have rising prices caused you to give up hope of buying a home?

Do you have a spare 50 grand or so kicking around (have… Continue reading

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 April 20

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

MLA Shirley Bond, right, answers questions during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on February 19, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Former B.C. gaming minister says she wasn’t told directly about dirty cash flowing to casinos

Shirley Bond said Thursday civil forfeiture, gang violence and gambling addiction were also major concerns in 2011

RCMP Constable Etsell speaks to tourists leaving the area at a police roadblock on Westside Road south of Fintry, B.C., Thursday, July 23, 2009. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Yvonne Berg
B.C. police say they take ‘exception’ to conducting roadblocks limiting travel

Asking the police to enforce roadblocks exposes officers to further risk and possible COVID-19 infections, says federation president Brian Sauve

The conservation service confirmed they do not relocate cougars from settled areas but that euthanasia is not necessarily the fate for an animal in the Fanny Bay area. The hope is that the animal will move on to wild areas. (File photo)
Woman hopes cat-stalking Fanny Bay cougar can avoid euthanization

Conservation officers do not relocate the animals from Vancouver Island

Tofino residents expressed frustration over a recent post by Long Beach Lodge owner Tim Hackett that falsely claimed all residents have been vaccinated. (Westerly file photo)
Resort owner apologizes for suggesting Tofino is safe to travel to

Long Beach Lodge owner Tim Hackett apologizes to community and visitors

BC Hydro released a survey Thursday, April 22. It found that many British Columbians are unintentionally contributing to climate change with their yard maintenance choices. (Pixabay)
Spend a lot of time doing yard work? It might be contributing to climate change

Recent BC Hydro survey finds 60% of homeowners still use gas-powered lawnmowers and yard equipment

Journal de Montreal is seen in Montreal, on Thursday, April 22, 2021. The daily newspaper uses a file picture of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau dressed in traditional Indian clothing during his trip to India to illustrate a story on the Indian variant of the coronavirus. Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press
Montreal newspaper blasted for front-page photo of Trudeau in India

Trudeau is wearing traditional Indian clothes and holding his hands together in prayer beside a caption that reads, ‘The Indian variant has arrived’

Most Read