Byron’s movie Palace set to be re-born in 2017
THE year-long absence of Byron Bay's Palace Cinema will leave a gaping hole in the cultural and entertainment life of the community - and a void in the lives of the 15 people who work there.
For some, such as manager Glenys Campbell and publicist Rose Fox, who have worked at the cinema since it opened 15 years ago, the closure is as sad as if they were watching the break-up of their family.
"It's been a home away from home," Ms Campbell said. "'I've known many of the kids here for a long time, so they are like my own children."
Co-manager Briar Rhodes started work at the cinema when she was 15. She is now 28.
Many of the young people have already got themselves other jobs, and Palace Cinemas have pledged to consider all existing staff for roles once the cinema reopens, which is scheduled for early 2107.
The new venue will add six cinemas to the current three, an expansion which would lead to further employment opportunities, said Palace Cinemas chief executive Benjamin Zeccola.
Meanwhile, Steph Gillooly, 20, with six months employment, a comparative baby in the Palace family, has picked up a job at Clarke's Beach Caravan Park as a receptionist; veteran Eli Ayo, now a supervisor after nearly eight years' (on and off) experience, believes the barista and barman skills he has developed will see him right for the try-outs he's got coming up at local cafes.
"Time management is something I've learned here too," Eli said, "I'm not at all worried about finding work."
The last screening will be at 9pm on Australia Day. Work will begin on the new complex a few days later.