100% Locally Owned, Independent and Free

100% Locally Owned, Independent and Free

Historic theatre ready to re-open after four decades in the wilderness

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Once considered the jewel in the crown of Nambour’s CBD, The Vogue theatre is preparing to make a stunning comeback, starting next week.

It was almost like stepping back in time when Sunshine Coast News was given an exclusive walkthrough of the theatre, with chandeliers hanging from the ceiling and fittings designed to give it a 1950s feel.

However, state-of-the-art audio technology will quickly snap attendees back to the 21st century as owner Trent Laing brings the facility into the modern era.

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Most Nambour residents have never set foot in The Vogue. It was closed in the 1980s and was turned into a Dimmeys clothing store, until it shut down in 2019.

Dean Carlile has taken on the responsibility of restoring the theatre to its halcyon days and says he can’t wait for the public to see the final product.

He says there will be one big change from The Vogue of old to its current-day version – it won’t be a movie theatre.

A classy reception area and bar will greet attendees when they walk into The Vogue off Currie Street.

Hundreds used to clamour into the auditorium to watch the latest movies, but The Vogue will be a music and entertainment venue, rather than a cinema.

“Trent brought me in and showed me the place and said ‘what do you think about turning this into a music and entertainment area?’ and I went ‘yeah, that would be awesome’,” Mr Carlile said.

“We’ve got the first performance happening on Saturday week (March 9) with a blues night, which will sort of be the blues club’s introduction to their involvement of the venue.

“They’ll continue to have an event on the third Thursday of every month.”

The official opening, however, will be much bigger.

“We’re negotiating with a few headliners and we’re looking at maybe six to 10 weeks for that grand opening,” Mr Carlile said.

“The dream is to turn it into one of the premier venues in regional Australia and to bring quality performers from all over, as well as their fans.”

An image of The Vogue in the late 1950s or early 1960s. It later became a Dimmeys store.

The Vogue will be community-focused, too.

“We’ve already spoken to the three schools in the area and we’ve got dance groups coming through and open mic interest. We want it to be a community-based venue where anyone can feel comfortable approaching us to use the facilities,” Mr Carlile said.

“I know that Trent would get the biggest thrill if a local kid got up on stage here for the first time and then managed to burst onto the scene.

“It’s all about putting smiles on faces and bringing life back into this part of the town. There’s not much happening in Nambour after 7pm on any night of the week.”

As the owner of the adjacent Royal George Hotel, Mr Laing hopes The Vogue will re-energise the Nambour CBD and all licensed venues, not just his.

“It won’t be a nightclub, that’s for sure,” he said.

“Me and the family have had the pub for 24 years and we’ve worked hard to keep it a family-owned pub.

“Coles and Woolies were buying everything but we wanted to keep it.”

A boutique bar has been set up to cater for the audience.

Getting into the hotel industry was a dream for Mr Laing’s family.

“My father worked as a brickie’s labourer and mum worked at Ingham’s chickens. We bought our first hotel in Bowen when I was 19 and I’m 47 now,” he said.

“We got the Royal George in 2000.”

The Vogue wasn’t even part of the plan when they first landed in Nambour.

It was still running as a Dimmeys and remained that way even after Mr Laing bought the building.

“I actually bought it off ‘Mr Dimmeys’ himself,” the publican said.

“I was here and saw some people out the front so I went to introduce myself and he shook my hand and said ‘I’m Mr Dimmeys’.”

Mr Laing leased the building back to Dimmeys “at a cheap rate” for a period until the store closed five years ago.

“We wanted them to stay because it was a good business for the town,” Mr Laing said.

“When they shut down we looked at what we could do with the place and the idea of The Vogue came about.”

Huge crowds used to gather at The Vogue to watch movies.

Interestingly, The Vogue was originally located on the western side of Currie Street between Mitchell and Bury streets, where the Sunshine Coast Council’s Fred Murray Building stands today.

Construction on the original theatre was completed in August 1947.

Known affectionately as ‘The Tin Shed’, the original Vogue was built out of second-hand materials and served its purpose for a decade, but plans were launched to replace it with a more centrally located cinema.

The new Vogue cost 70,000 pounds to build, and was officially opened for business on February 19, 1958, by David Low, chairman of the Maroochy Shire Council.

This was “one of the brightest occasions in Nambour for years” and was attended by an audience of more than 1000 “first nighters”.

Mr Carlile hopes that energy will be revived again when The Vogue opens its doors next Saturday.

The first performance at The Vogue will be The House of Blues show with The Blues Jumpers, The Spirits Blues Band and Vix and the Slick Chix. Doors open at 6.30pm with the show running from 7pm until late. Tickets are available online.

Do you have an opinion to share? Submit a Letter to the Editor at Sunshine Coast News via news@sunshinecoastnews.com.au. You must include your name and suburb.

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