Żejtun's Time Capsule: Old Cinema From The 1950s To Reopen Its Projection Room Doors For Two Nights

When the last film was shown 35 years ago, everything was left exactly as is


Many would argue that cinema's heyday has come and gone, but one theatre in the south of Malta plans to reignite the imaginations of people who remember the golden days. 35 years after closing down its doors, Żejtun's Teatru Pandora is coming back!

This latest initiative comes thanks to a new subcommittee within Għaqda Banda Zejtun specifically focusing on Art and Culture. First on their agenda was reopening the theatre's projection room, especially since Pandora is part of the club's building.

Ahead of the venue's unveiling during Żejt iż-Żejtun on the 29th and 30th September, the Żejtun subcommittee responsible for restoring and reopening the projection room have been gracious enough to provide us with some behind the scenes photos and factoids from the last six decades of Teatru Pandora.

If you're still looking for reasons to fall in love with the place and check it out for yourself, here are some awesome facts about Pandora's past... and its hopeful future!

1. Pandora's is a history 63 years in the making

Originally built by the late Edwin England Sant Fournier (father or celebrated architect Richard England), Pandora first opened its doors on Saturday 1st October 1955.

Intended as one of the biggest and best cinemas in Malta's south, Pandora dominated the island's entertainment for decade.

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Full house for the big day

2. The ceiling had cost Lm1,350 to make

That might not sound like a lot, but remember that this is the 1950s we're talking about. Adjusted for inflation, that number looks more like nowadays' €30,000. For a ceiling.

Clearly, no compromises were taken in the construction of Pandora. In fact, the theatre was built to be able to accommodate 1,000 people... even if there were some people who felt like that would be a tad too much.

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3. It was known to screen some slightly less PG titles...

Pandora featured everything from daily shows to late night adult screenings, as some of the findings have unearthed.

This wasn't just one of Malta's biggest and best theatres... it was also one which was not afraid to push a boundary or two.

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4. The projection room itself has become one big time capsule

Everything from decades-old equipment to film lists of classic titles dot the room, and stepping in really feels like going back in time.

There's even a very old fire extinguisher still hanging on the wall, testament to how unfortunately common it was for a fire to break out due to the old film tapes and the overheating archaic equipment.

And of course, that's without mentioning the pièce de résistance, the projector.

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5. The behemoth projector was the make-or-break heart of the operation

A machine that dwarfs even the tallest among us, the projector was definitely where it was all at for all those decades.

The group tell us how, at one time, a new (and obviously very expensive) projector had to be bought, or else it would've spelt a premature end for Teatru Pandora.

Decades later, though, the enormous oldie looks like she's still got it.

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6. Pandora closed its doors in 1983... and everything was left exactly as is

With cinema's decline in widespread popularity in the 80s came the need for certain theatres around the island to close down, and Pandora quickly succumbed to the same fate so many others had before it.

In 1983, after screening its last film, the projector was switched off, and everything in the projection room was left exactly as is. To this day, old cigarette packs and decades-old bottles lie on the table, relics of the past.

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35 years later, nothing has changed. On the right, a list of the last films to be screened at Pandora survives

7. The theatre still remained active... but Pandora is set for a weekend straight out of yesteryear

Teatru Pandora remained active with theatrical productions up to this day. In fact, it was only closed two years ago for a revamp. Last year, in fact, it also started hosting Teatru Malta, whose offices are now situated in the same premises.

The projection room, however, was a different story. This room has stood still in time for the last 35 years, and it's now its time to shine. "We already started working on some promotion and the interest and feedback is overwhelming," Għaqda Banda Żejtun's Joseph Agius tells Lovin Malta.

Joseph went on to give us an even further look into Pandora's glorious past... but we decided to only whet your appetite ahead of the full reveal later this month.

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Tag someone who'd love to check out Teatru Pandora's projection room!

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Written By

David Grech Urpani

Sarcastically ironic, Dave is a recovering hipster musician with a penchant for chicken, women's clothes and Kanye.