FOR the first time in half a century, Daylesford residents will be able to go to the movies at The Rex.
Three vacant shops in The Rex arcade have been transformed into a 104-seat theatre and cinema, after a not-for-profit community group and building developer Tony Grosso came together to revive the cinema.
During the construction process, all 104 chairs arrived in flat packs with four allen keys and a set of instructions written in Chinese.
"The volunteers worked for weeks putting them together because they believe in what we're doing," Daylesford Community Theatre president Loretta Little said.
"It's been a huge job but the excitement is palpable."
Built in 1927, the Rex Theatre hosted films and numerous events for the residents of Daylesford before its closure in 1963.
The grand building in the heart of the central business district eventually fell into decline, until being redeveloped in 2009 into a modern shopping arcade.
In recent years there have been several attempts to install a cinema in the complex.
Six months ago, Ms Little and arcade manager and gift shop owner Karen Hemming decided they were going to make it happen.
The community raised more than $40,00 in six months to help build and equip the space, which will be run by volunteers and feature five sessions and three matinees a week.
Last night, the cinema celebrated its soft opening with a screening of Ballarat-made film Dalkeith.
Ms Little said the venue would host a range of activities and would be used as a live performance and youth space.
She said applications had already been received from a wide range of potential user-groups, from a small circus to a mime artist and opera group.
"This is going to be far more than a theatre - it's going to bring the community together," Ms Little said.
From Friday, the theatre will host a four-day queer film festival - Gaylesford - to coincide with Daylesford's ChillOut Festival.
For information, visit facebook.com/daylesfordcommunitytheatre