Celluloid Circus

From Appointment, 2:00 pm on 31 July 2016

Seasoned New Zealand journalist and documentary maker, Wayne Brittenden takes us through the history of Kiwis' love affair with the silver screen, at least between 1925 - 1970.

Way before IMAX, DVD and televisions were common, many people went to the pictures once a fortnight for the latest entertainment and news, making New Zealanders the world’s most frequent moviegoers except for the Americans.

It was a time when communities of fewer than 5,000 people - such as Wairoa, Gore, Hawera and Stratford boasted two picture theatres screening six days a week, and each grand enough not to be out of place in London or Los Angeles. 

Wayne Brittenden, author of The Celluloid Circus, brings the era back to life – the theatres, managers, audiences, censors, films and the unsung heroes of picture-going – the projectionists.

It’s an informative and often funny record of a part of our social history. The local picture theatre was the place for entertainment, socialising, courting and being kept informed through the all-important newsreels. It is a treat for anyone who remembers the advertising slides, trayboys and illuminated waterfall curtains – as well as for those who wish they had been part of it.