What with all the nostalgia swirling around memories of Malta’s good ol’ times, historic architecture, art and social projects have never enjoyed more popularity... but what about cinema? The islands were a cinematic haven not so long ago, yet most were forced to shut down when the public started favouring their TV sets. Did you know that Gozo was also host to several cinemas? Take a journey through time with us as we reveal the complexes Gozitans would frequent to catch the latest flicks.
1. Aurora Theatre, Victoria
The first of two opera houses not only in the same city but in the same street, Aurora’s large theatre space and sizeable stage created the perfect setting for a cinema. Albeit popular at the time, the theatre’s function as a cinema was eventually shut down due to dwindling demands.
2. Astra Theatre, Victoria
The second Gozitan opera house, it also transformed into a cinema for a period of time. Just like its sister, it no longer functions as one and instead houses theatrical, operatic, musical or dance productions.
3. Mnarja Band Club, Nadur
Although band clubs are generally used as headquarters for village bands, they also act as a social hub. One such band club heightened the bar by implementing a cinema within its structure.
4. Ta’ Xelina Square, Sannat
It’s as quaint as quaint gets with this one. This charming Gozitan village was the host of an open-air cinema which was quite popular with its residents. It’s been a long time since the last film was screened, but a switch on the wall which was used to light up the projectors is apparently still in place – eagerly awaiting its next chance to be useful.
5. Royal Cinema, Victoria
Before moving from their headquarters to the Aurora Theatre, the Leone Band Society’s premises in Tokk Square, Victoria opened its doors to cinema enthusiasts way back in the early '30s. While it no longer functions as either, the projection room has been carefully preserved and houses original equipment!
Do you remember any other cinemas that have since closed down?