Pioneer (Walk In) Open Air Theatre Alice Springs NT - "A Town Like Alice" 22X28 Lobby Poster

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Uploaded on: May 2, 2018

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Date time: Tue Dec 04 15:15:49 +0000 2012

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Pioneer (Walk In) Open Air Theatre Alice Springs NT - "A Town Like Alice" 22X28 Lobby Poster

Pioneer (Walk In) Open Air Theatre, Alice Springs – Image - A Town Like Alice 22X28 Lobby Poster – The Australian gala premiere, or ‘bush premiere’ of “A Town Like Alice” as reported by The Australian Women’s Weekly (8 August 1956), was held in Alice Springs at the Pioneer Walk-In Theatre. The Walk-In is an open-air theatre built by Leslie ‘Snow’ Kenna in the 1940s on the southern corner of Parsons Street and Leichhardt Terrace, beside the banks of the River Todd. The occasion was also used to raise funds for the Royal Flying Doctor Service. Locals arrived in casual dress, carrying thick rugs and cushions for the open-air screening. The theatre was decorated with bunting and palm leaves. During the intermission, Arunta men and women from the Hermannsburg Mission wearing khaki riding pants and bright tartan checked shirts sung ‘Lest We Forget’ and ‘The Lord Has Ascended On High’ in their language. It was only in the film’s final minutes that the people of Alice Springs got to see anything of their town and district, with some locals appearing as extras on horseback and in street scenes receiving an amused reaction. The whole evening was so informal, relaxed and ‘Australian’ that The Argus (28 July 1956) jokingly reported that Hollywood would have been horrified. The film premiere raised more than £700 for a special emergency whistle-signal service for the outback people. Bookings for the premiere were preferential. As 8 p.m. approached hopeful tourists and locals crowded the street outside the theatre, owned by “Snow” Kenna, who has been in the Northern Territory since the early 1930s. In those days his theatre was the only one between Port Augusta and Tennant Creek. It reminded Peter Finch of his Army days, when he was serving in the Northern Territory and used to pass through Alice Springs and see open air movie shows in the various army cinemas…

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