Pingelly’s old courthouse will be transformed into a movie cinema after local resident Marcia Devenney secured the Shire’s peppercorn lease. The courthouse was built in 1907 and was in use for 70 years before it was converted into a small museum run by the Pingelly Museum and Historical Group. After the redevelopment of the Memorial Park precinct, which includes the historic building, the Shire advertised the lease for a commercial tenant in the arts, culture, tourism or hospitality industry to revitalise the space. Ms Devenney put forward the idea for the Pingelly Courthouse Cinema, which was the only expression of interest submitted. The 12-month lease was signed last month at a cost of $1, plus outgoings of about $265 a month. “I saw on one of the online community bulletin boards that the Shire had put out a tender for the courthouse to be used so went and had a poke around,” she said. “I’m from the country and I travel around WA all the time where I’m always looking around at what’s going on and thinking about what could work in other little towns. “The Shire have done such a good job renovating and restoring the building and I thought that people who want to feel a bit of nostalgia or look back into the past will really enjoy it. “Then you add something like a cinema and there will be double the interest.” The cinema will be able to seat 25 people in front of a 3m-wide screen to watch the latest movie releases. The building will also have air conditioning and wheelchair access to make the space accessible for all customers. “The screen will almost take up the whole length of the back wall of the courthouse, so it will definitely be an immersive experience,” Ms Devenney said. “My plan is to run it on every other weekend with two screenings per day and then gauge the interest from there. “I thought we could do themed weekends, like Australian movies or children’s movies.” The cinema will have a website and online booking system and refreshments and popcorn will be available for purchase. The old courthouse will also be available for bookings during the week where community groups or businesses can use the space and the screen. Ms Devenney said she planned to engage the community by employing local residents to run the operation. “It will be a really good way for people to learn some customer service skills,” she said. “My hope is that I have four or five sharp teenagers who are really keen to learn and a couple of older residents who want some part-time work. “From the audio visual side of stuff, there are some IT skills which are needed, so for people who are studying that it will be something they can do and put on their resume.” Shire chief executive Andrew Dover said the cinema was an exciting opportunity to draw people from around the region into the building and the park. “The cinema will bring local people together, provide another activity for youth and the whole of the community, activate the park and will bring visitors to the town,” he said. “The cinema will activate the old courthouse and attract people to the town centre and adjacent park. “In addition, an outside cinema will be set up in the park on occasion, which will activate the park further and provide a different experience for local people.” The cinema will launch on Australia Day with an outdoor screening of the latest James Bond movie ‘No Time To Die’. For tickets, visit the Pingelly Courthouse Cinema Facebook page.