Re-opening is anticipated for July / August 2022, with an official re-opening to take place during September.
A piece of Rex history was relegated to the scrap heap just prior to Christmas as the original toilet block behind the main building was knocked down in preparation for the backstage upgrade to begin.
The 1938 structure has been a sadly outdated relic for many years now, and there would be few, if any, Rex patrons who will mourn its demise.
Becoming a roosting place for pigeons has only added to the unsatisfactory nature of these amenities.
With BRL Construction workers, Rob and Justin on the job, the demolition proceeded smoothly, with scrap materials being isolated into groups for removal off-site.
Despite the ongoing closure of the building as the upgrade gets underway, the new and improved additions will go a long way towards making the venue a more inviting and all-embracing place to attend on re-opening.
(Reprinted courtesy of the Buloke Times - 9 November 2021)
A much-needed upgrade and extension to Charlton’s Rex Theatre will be made possible thanks to an $800,000 grant from the Victorian Government announced on 4 November by the Minister for Regional Development, Mary-Anne Thomas.
Ms. Thomas said the investment, through the Regional Cultural Infrastructure Fund, would set the Rex Theatre up to provide a wider variety of performances and carry it forward for another 80-plus years.
The project covers the construction of new toilets and a backstage extension, which will double as a dressing room and meeting space for both the Rex and for community use. Theatre-related storage facilities are included in the design, along with all-abilities access to the stage and new amenities, ensuring inclusiveness for all.
Praising the dedicated work of the fully-volunteer operated enterprise, the Minister had a guided tour of the premises prior to the announcement, commending the initiatives employed to build cash flow during the testing times of the pandemic.
Showcasing the capabilities of the Rex, a short musical interlude, performed by Charlton local, Apryl Start on the concert grand piano, welcomed the Minister.
Following an introduction by Rex Board member, Carolyn Stewart, Mary-Anne Thomas remarked on the venue’s “Hollywood glamour”, before acknowledging the need to ensure facilities and amenities kept pace with the standards of community expectation.
“I am delighted to be announcing the $800,000 from the Victorian State Government to support and upgrade these facilities so that this theatre can reach its absolute full potential”, she said. She also acknowledged the fine balance between sport and encouragement of the arts, saying the ability to create opportunities for local thespian interests was also important.
A brief outline of Rex history was then presented by David Pollard which covered some the defining eras of the Rex journey. He also outlined details of enhancements to the multipurpose room, before thanking Regional Development Victoria (RDV) and Council staff for their input into the successful grant application.
Attendees then moved outdoors for the ritual “turning-of-the-sod”, where the Minister also had the chance to view the project plans. The building work, which will be carried out by BLR Provincial Construction Pty. Ltd., follows on from their recently-completed riverfront viewing deck at the Traveller’s Rest in Charlton.
Attending the announcement invited guests included RDV Director, Rachael Lee, RDV staff, Karla Fox and Peter Forbes, Mallee Regional Partnership Chair, Win Scott, Buloke Shire Councillors and staff, plus Rex Theatre Board members.
With demolition work due to begin in the coming weeks, the Rex will remain closed during the construction phase. With fire exits blocked off and the old toilets removed the venue will not comply with building regulations, so a re-opening will be delayed until June 2022 when the project is completed.
While disappointing in the short term, Rex Chairperson, Hayden McKinnon said, “This upgrade marks a new beginning which will see the Rex evolve into a venue capable of presenting greater variety and scope of live theatre, which in turn translates into bigger and better the cultural possibilities for our town and region.”
FREE screening - one session only:
Sat 27 Feb 8pm
The name, Keith Looby, doesn’t grab the attention like numerous other Australian artists such as Nolan, Namatjira or Streeton.
Yet Looby’s distinctive painting style drew many accolades, and sees his key works acquired by national galleries across Australia.
The Rex will be screening a free documentary about this enigmatic artist titled “LOOBY” (80 mins) on Saturday 27 February at 8pm.
A winner of prestigious art prizes such as the Archibald (portrait), Blake (religious) and Sulman (subject, genre or mural), Looby’s was an eternal “love/hate” relationship with the very discipline in which he excelled.
Born in 1940, the son of Irish Catholic immigrants, he was a dedicated socialist who forever felt on the outer.
Following numerous attempts at the Archibald prize, he won the coveted award in 1984 with a portrait of comedian Max Gillies – a performer renowned for his better-than-real-life parody of Prime Minister, Bob Hawke.
Looby also took up the indigenous cause long before it gained the prominence we know today. A series of extraordinary drawings, “A Black and White History of Australia”, illustrates the horrors of colonialism which remain confronting today.
Amongst his many artistic awards, Looby also won the Swan Hill Pioneer Art prize in 1975
Exhibiting undeniable talent, Looby’s tendency to never let go of an argument and ability to make enemies in the wider art world has largely seen him ignored in the annuals of Australian art.
This documentary explores the brilliance of his artistic visualization against a flawed personality. As one commentator said, “he has become an invisible man in the Australian art scene”.
This is an opportunity to revisit his powerful vision and exemplary technique within the context of the man himself and in the Australia of the late 20th century.
A reminder to patrons dropping in for SUNDAY Coffee @ The Rex -
as per the DHHS updated restrictions, please wear a mask while indoors
unless drinking or eating.
SUNDAY Coffee @ The Rex 10am - 2pm
Welcome back to Sunday dine-in coffee time!
Here's a few things to keep in mind when you drop in to share a cuppa and chat with friends:
- All patrons that dine in must sign in.
- All patrons must social distance
- All patrons must use hand sanitiser on entry
- A seating cap of 8 is in place (6 in the rex foyer and 2 in candy bar area)
- Max of 12 people in the rex at one time (8 seating, 4 take away)
We mightn't be showing movies at present, but we'd love you to call in and catch up with friends over a lazy
SUNDAY COFFEE @ The Rex.
Enjoy Cappuccinos * Lattes * Chai Tea featuring Bendigo Brewhouse products.
changes to the Victorian Covid 19 restrictions.
Due to a number of factors it is not viable for the Rex to
return to operation just yet.
With Hollywood withholding new film releases until the world
market is stronger, the reduction in the number of attendees,
and with concern for the safety of our patrons and volunteers,
the Rex Board is undertaking a month by month review of the
situation and will keep the community informed through updates
on our digital media platforms and through local press outlets.
While we regret the ongoing delay and understand the community’s
desire to return to normality, it is essential that continued health
compliance and availability of product are in hand before we re-open.
We thank you for your patience, and look forward to soon
welcoming you back to the Rex.
in accordance with the Federal Government's directive
in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Rex will close
from 12 midday March 23 until further notice.
The health and safety of our patrons and volunteering staff are of primary concern for us. We work hard to ensure that the cinema is a healthy and safe environment. The situation is being monitored and the Rex Theatre will act promptly on advice from the Australian Government Department of Health and in response to any directive from the Victorian Government.
In line with advice from the Australian Government Department of Health, at this stage it is not necessary to close the cinema, therefore we will continue to have regular sessions and operate as normal. We are taking care to be extra diligent by implementing the measures below at this time:
- Hand sanitiser provided for patrons and the volunteers staffing the Rex
- Spacing of patrons in the cinema
- Disinfecting surfaces in public spaces between sessions
- Asking staffing volunteers and patrons with symptoms to stay home