A Place for the Kids

The Border theatre caters to all Ballarat locals and visitors in equal measure. With classical movies on Thursdays and two auditoriums for showing films, there is something for everyone. One of the most rewarding aspects of managing a small historical theatre in the heart of Ballarat is the joy that a morning out at the movies can bring. (Especially to the precious little children of the region). The thing about children at the movies is they love the entertainment but find it a little tricky to sit still for long periods. That’s why we called Landscaping Ballarat and created a brilliant outdoor area for all the little balls of energy that come to our theatre.

The outdoor area has always been here. It was first used as a break room for staff, then as a kind of neglected storage area, then as a smoking area in the 90s. When smoking was banned on the site entirely, it was officially out of uses and became an overgrown, muddy, no-go zone. It was effectively an eyesore. The decision to create an area for children to let off steam was an obvious one that had been staring us in the face for years. Each morning when the children’s films would show, what can only be described as a herd of little stamping feet would burst through the foyer. Tired parents would follow, desperately trying to stop these mini-tornadoes from breaking anything. The idea to give them a safe space to run around while the parents relax was a no-brainer.

One phone call to our landscapers and suddenly they were standing in the outdoor area, tape measure in one hand, a pictorial book of ideas in the other. It was decided that a simple space would be best. With guidance from the professionals, we decided to level out the area, lay down fresh green turf, remove any bricked edges that may cause injury, and place a lovely bench seat over to one side. The experience and knowledge that professional landscapers bring is priceless to the design phase. These guys and gals just know what would look great and be functional. Having their expertise made the whole process easy breezy.

When the landscaping team arrived to begin, it was a cathartic experience to see all the old rubbish removed. Old tables, plastic chairs from the 90s, neglected pot-plants, moss-covered pavers. It all went in one glorious day. The bare space was staggering. The area had never looked so big and open. The next day the turf was laid and the whole space came to life. It was a gorgeous, green, glowing area, and we couldn’t wait to see those first little feet frolic across the grass. The landscapers then created a small section of perfectly positioned pavers, surrounded by a small dividing line of white pebbles. The bench seat was installed on the pavers, and just like that, mums, dads, and grandparents had a place to rest.

Professional landscapers turned our dream into a reality. Now at around 11:15 any given morning, that outdoor area is teaming with life again. Young children breathe the fresh air and run all their energy out, while their grownups relax in the knowledge that nothing can be broken, and their little ones are safe. It has been one of the most popular features of our renovation thus far.

An Old Venue Comes With its Drawbacks!

The border theatre here in Ballarat is a beacon of nostalgia, it glitters with memories of classical movies while also heaving under the energy of modern blockbusters. The theatre has been around for the best part of a century. This old age is visible in the way the perimeter fence strains and bends on breezy Ballarat days. The management committee decided a new fence was a necessity, and the great team at Fencing Ballarat were called to do the job.

The idea of installing a new fence incited a small amount of decorator’s anxiety. It felt like an impossible task to find a new strong fence that matched the art deco design of the theatre. The old wooden fencing was dilapidated and incomplete. It compromised the security of the theatre, was an eyesore, and presented an OH&S nightmare if anyone were to hurt themselves scrambling over it or leaning casually against it. How could we find a fence that kept the vibe of the theatre, while also providing a secure boundary? Our anxieties were in vain because our fencers went above and beyond to create the perfect fence for the venue.

Our anxiety was palpable, but we were assured from the beginning that a great fence would be found. The phrase, “there is a fence for everyone”, was uttered more than once. The team sent out a project manager to create a design based on our requirements and preferences, and expertly managed our expectations. The theatre management committee was relieved to say the least. Perhaps this would turn out to be one of those things we wish we’d done sooner.

The project manager from Fencing Ballarat gathered several different designs and explained how each one would work and how it would look. There were options of picket fences, ironwork fences, even high-security fencing. We settled on a wood and black iron fence and it looks amazing. The wood is a dark cedar, and the iron is actually black powder-coated aluminum, but it looks like a grand old fence from the times when the theatre was in its prime. As a bonus, it also happens to be very sturdy and excellent for keeping unwanted people or animals out.

By the time installation day rolled around, we were elated to be saying goodbye to our old rickety fence, and hello to our glorious new art deco fence. The installation team took care of everything, they disposed of the old fence and installed the new fence as sturdy as a rock. All the management committee needed to do was peep out of the tearoom windows, cups of tea in hand, exclaiming ‘ooh’ and ‘aaah’ at the beautiful new fence.

The greatest part of it all is that the theater has never had a lockable gate…until now. The fencing team suggested some gorgeous art deco black iron gates with a plaza-style design. The gates are enormous, opulent, and totally lockable. Now when we open the gates in the morning, it feels like a special moment. As the patrons drive through the gates, not only do they feel that their vehicle will be secure, but they also feel like they are entering another world. And isn’t that exactly what a visit to the movie theatre is all about?

New Carpark = Happy Customers

The charm of The Border Theatre is obvious from the moment our customers drive through the grand, newly installed art deco gates. The renovations to restore the old theatre to the art deco style of its original design in 1938, are breathing new life and old nostalgia into our majestic cinema. The next project that seemed so obvious was addressing the carpark. Management considered the options, and in the end, we were so glad we made the call to Earthmoving Ballarat to make our carpark a wonderful experience for our customers.

The original theatre did not have a carpark. The people often walked or parked in long lines on the street, many caught the tram to the theatre. In the 50s, the owners recognized the need for a carpark as more and more people owned cars. The vacant lot in the adjacent block was purchased and the customers began parking their cars on the grass.

The carpark in those days has been described as a free-for-all where one could simply drive in, pull their hand brake on, and wherever their car stopped is where they parked. This must’ve been how the carpark felt in the 50s and 60s. Unfortunately, nothing much had changed for 60 odd years since those times. Up until the recent earthworks, the car park was still dirt and still relied on the common sense of the patronage to work out an orderly parking scheme for the day. Over the years, the ground eroded in sections and compressed under the tires of vehicles. Wheel ruts and potholes made the carpark hazardous for those without four-wheel drives, and many patrons could not bring themselves to attempt the wild terrain.

The management committee decided the theatre needed a new carpark to match the grandeur of the iron art deco gates, and our earthmoving team set to work. The team at earthmoving Ballarat came in their droves. There seemed to be an army working on our carpark on that first day. The area was first cleared of any rubbish, large rocks, and tree stumps. The next step saw a fleet of Bobcats buzz around the carpark, pushing and pulling the earth in all directions before it looked like a whole new block of land. The team then carefully graded and levelled the area before trucking in and laying a solid base of all-weather gravel.

The new carpark not only looked fresh and clean, but the actual surface was now suitable for any vehicle in any weather. The whole process only took one week and the team from earthmoving Ballarat took care of all the safety precautions. The transformation was truly astonishing.

The very next day the carpark was opened and a parade of cars great and small glided easily over the surface. No more worrying about getting bogged in the mud or getting lost down a pothole. Our carpark is now as inviting as our theatre and our customers can appreciate the convenience.

Welcome to the Theatre

Ladies and gentlemen, please have your tickets ready, today’s feature film is about to start. Enjoy a cool beverage or a tasty snack from the candy bar and settle into your comfy seat. As the lights dim, please switch off the outside world by switching off your phone. Get lost in the magic of today’s showing. When the film concludes, and you wander out into the dazzling light of the foyer, enjoy the feeling of renewal and wonder that comes after experiencing a great film.

The magic of going to the theatre is a universal pastime. Spending Saturday night at the movies has been a rite of passage for many young people as they dipped their toes into adulthood and inched shyly towards romantic pursuits. Australians have been enjoying motion pictures at the theatre for over 100 years. From that first showing in 1896 at the Melbourne Opera to the blockbusters of today in theatres across the land; Australians have always enjoyed the escape of the pictures.

Here at The Border Theatre, Ballaratians enjoy the entertainment and nostalgia that pervades every inch of the theatre. From classic old films to modern-day masterpieces, The Border Theatre keeps Ballarat amused.

The history of the theatre is part of its charm, and today’s movie-goers can detect a sense of the past in every corner of the venue. While the theatre may be undergoing some renovation and refurbishment, the original essence of the space can never be removed.

The Border Theater is an institution in Ballarat and a loved icon. Check back here for all the updates about the theatre including movie showings, and specific improvement works. Everything you need to know about what’s happening at Ballarat’s beloved Border Theatre will be put right here. 

Enjoy the show!

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