DEX FILES: The world's a stage at the Saraton Theatre
TODAY the Saraton Theatre is a triple cinema complex boasting its fully restored main theatre (950 seats), plus two new cinemas with stadium seating (150 seats each) adjacent to the main theatre.
All three cinemas feature digital wide-screen projection, hypercoustic surround sound, wheelchair access for disabled patrons, air conditioning, and hearing aid loops for those with impaired hearing.
Apart from the newest film releases, it also showcases world-class live entertainment on stage and is home to a full-sized grand piano which has been used by internationally renowned performers likes Simon Tedeschi.
LOOKING BACK: Official theatre opening tonight (Extract from The Daily Examiner, July 17, 1926)
THE Saraton Theatre, in Prince St, Grafton, except for a few finishing touches that require attention, is now completed, and everything is in readiness for the opening ceremony, which is to be performed by the Mayor of Grafton (Ald. W.T. Robinson) tonight.
The Notaras Bros., who are the owners of the new theatre, claim that it is the largest building of its kind on the North Coast, and there is no doubt that it is adequate for every class of entertainment.
The Saraton, with its three shops in front, occupies a frontage to Prince St of 75ft 3ins, and has a depth of 160ft. The main entrance to the building is through a spacious vestibule, at the far end of which are two wide doors giving access to the stalls.
Downstairs, the floor space is 106ft by 53ft, and seating accommodation has been provided for 720 persons. The main auditorium, however, is capable of seating 1100 people, but the management have left vacant a space, which could be utilised for dancing, and in which it is possible to place an additional 300 seats.
From the centre of the entrance vestibule, access is provided to wire reinforced concrete stairs, leading to an intermediate floor or foyer, 53ft by 12ft, thence to the large gallery, in which are 429 comfortable seats. The building is in every sense up to date, and is an acquisition to the town. Electric light, together with the latest fittings, has been installed throughout, and the work generally is a great credit to Mr FJ Board, the architect, and to Mr Walters, the contractor, and all who have co-operated in its construction.
A special programme has been arranged for tonight, when the principal picture will be "The Eagle" in which Rudolph Valentino figures in the leading role.
This production was only released in Sydney a couple of weeks ago.
This is what the Saraton Theatre looks like today ...
SINCE its reopening in 2010 the Saraton Theatre has entertained more than 700,000 patrons, employing and young people and training them in theatre and automation system management.
In 2011 the theatre received the NSW Heritage Best Restoration Award for its meticulous work on bringing the Art Deco beauty back from the brink.
The Saraton's ethos is to provide the Clarence community with a facility that covers all avenues of entertainment and charity fundraising opportunities.
Since being back in operation it has seen famous faces in the entertainment industry come and go from its stage. From international touring acts and soloists to Australia musical greats across all genres .
From Guy Sebastian to Leo Sayer, Anh Do to Carl Barron and our home grown stars Troy Cassar-Daley to The McClymonts, the Saraton has hosted some of our favourites performers with more set to come in the legendary Jimmy Barnes and the hugely popular Afternoon at the Proms.
From film festivals and school concerts, Biggest Morning Teas to world premieres, the Saraton has been there supporting the community in all its understated grandeur.
It's a venue a historical city can be proud of.
The Notaras family wishes to thank all of its patron and for the support in ensuring the heritage Saraton Theatre and cinemas remain a viable and entertaining part of the Clarence Valley. Here's to the next 90 years.