As with any key part of a town, and the change that comes with it, the historic Regent Theatre’s future has been a hot topic in discussions around Mudgee and locals have weighed in on what the building should become.
There have been many ideas sent in to the Mudgee Guardian, and dozens have taken to Facebook to put forward their own vision of the Regent’s future, including ideas for a family restaurant, a music venue, an old-style arcade or a return to the theatre of old.
One such idea on Facebook from Adele Lindley suggested a “community building for everyone to use.”
“Tenpin bowling alley, crystal maze, conference rooms at affordable prices, gymbaroo for the kids. So much could be done within the one building for all ages and abilities,” she said.
One reader, Rochelle McDonald, contacted the Guardian with an idea for a music venue similar to Newcastle’s Lizottes, a renovated restaurant hall with an intimate stage that has hosted acts like Jimmy Barnes and Mental As Anything.
Many still look to the building as a theatre for Mudgee to host new movies, with the community now divided on the viability of a theatre.
“Make it a theatre again, there are none of these buildings left,” Cherey Bell said in her email to the Guardian.
“There is nothing for the mini-adults 14 to 17 to do at nights, the ones that want to take their girlfriend or boyfriend out, or the elderly that loved the movies.”
However, there are others that simply support the idea of moving on, and argue that internet and the popularity of streaming services has left cinemas behind.
Steve Mencinsky said online that “the brutal fact is … first with rental videotapes, then with rental DVDs, and now with over-the-internet streaming movies on demand, movie theatres are not just dying, they are already extinct.”
“They can no longer run as businesses. No bank would ever loan money for it.”
“For what you want to happen, someone would have to be prepared to buy it and then run it at a continuous loss. How is that likely to happen?”