Victoria’s 167-Year-Old Theatre Royal Castlemaine Has Just Launched Its Own Film Streaming Service

When lockdowns and restrictions started becoming a reality in 2020, a heap of cinemas around Australia began jumping online. Venues as varied as Sydney’s Golden Age, Melbourne’s ACMI and Australian-wide chain Event Cinemas launched their own streaming services, as did Palace Cinemas and the team behind the Ritz, Lido, Classic and Cameo cinemas — not just when the pandemic first hit, but as it kept impacting movie-going as we know it.

That wasn’t merely a 2020 or early 2021 trend, and it isn’t simply limited to city or big national chains. Indeed, Australia has just scored another digital spot to check out movies from home, with Theatre Royal Castlemaine in regional Victoria adding its own platform to your viewing options. Watch something on this one, however, and you’ll be supporting a 167-year-old venue that’s been open since 1854 and operating as a cinema since the silent movie era. The first films flickered across its screen back in 1919, and it’s now one of the oldest continuously operating theatres in the southern hemisphere.

Theatre Royal Castlemaine’s streaming site is called Royal Flix and Chill, and it’s curated by cinema co-owner Felicity Cripps, some movie-loving friends of the venue and Castlemaine Documentary Festival Director Claire Jaegar. It’s a pay-per-view platform, so you’ll just fork out for what you want to watch on a title by title basis — with more than 100 films currently on offer, and five new additions set to join the catalogue each month.

At the time of writing, highlights include recent fare such as A Quiet Place Part II, The Father, Antoinette in the Cevennes, The Godmother and The United States vs Billie Holiday — plus flicks from the past few years like Parasite, For Sama, Dunkirk, Get Out and Shoplifters.

Or, there’s also older titles such as Donnie Darko, City of God, There Will Be Blood, Tampopo, Chinatown, The Big Lebowski, The Professional and Twelve Monkeys; Australian movies like High Ground, Firestarter — The Story of Bangarra and Bran Nue Dae; documentaries such as Honeyland, Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry and Studio 54: The Documentary; and European cinema highlights including Cold War, Dogman and Toni Erdmann.

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“The cinema is one of the toughest arms of our business. We are one of the last remaining single-screen venues in the country and that is because it is so hard to make ends meet when there is so much available to view in the digital world. But it’s also very special and as a long-standing ‘picture palace’, we want to do all we can to keep it going,” said Cripps.

“That’s where our virtual cinema comes in. A way to connect with people who may not be able to physically attend our cinema and a way to show more arthouse and international films with less overheads, it’s intended to compliment the in-house offering and draw a wider audience with a uniquely curated library of amazing cinema, available to everyone.”

For more information about Theatre Royal Castlemaine streaming platform, or to start watching, head to the Royal Flix and Chill website.

Published on September 27, 2021 by Sarah Ward

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