The Sun Theatre - Yarraville by © Helen Chierego

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Copyright 2008-2010 © Helen Chierego
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An icon ot the western suburbs of Melbourne. I enjoyed many films during my childhood in this art deco building. Glad to see it enjoying a revival.



For Yvonne, Michelle and Margot

The world is revolving faster these days
How did it happen that twenty-four hours
Now seem like eighteen…or less? Back then
The Sun sign flickered day and night
Above the picture theatre, when we jumped
Off the Spotswood bus at Yarraville Station,
To ride the railway gates with the men
And boys, while the women stood back
They swung open like welcoming arms
Scooping us into the land of reel to reel

Streamers propelled by light. In the Art Deco
Building with a half sun on top, glowing
Like an icon or cross on a church
Rising up over the sugar refinery, docks
And our real lives we never thought about
While we were in Hollywood, America
The good old U S of A in Australia singing

God Save the Queen, while we stood head
To shoulder with women and men dressed in suits
And the other kids who knew all the words
To an anthem sung into our colonial heads
At school and on TV without needing a script
Or subtitles on the bottom of the screen
With a bouncing ball swooping over lyrics.

At the matinee we sighed when the lights were dimmed
Slipping down into our seats and out of our bodies
Onto the screen where film goddesses always ended up
With impossible heroes we read about on Fantales wrappers
While we crunched through to chocolate inside vermillion
Jaffas and licked wafered vanilla icecreams.

Chilled when the lights went out once upon a time
And the curtains opened to Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho
Mother told me to cover my eyes while
She held my ears and screamed so loudly
A rush of shivers snap froze the audience
To their seats. Black and white or
Technicolor…she liked a good murder.

While her daughters plagiarised musicals
To re-enact on the front verandah for kids
Who lived on the Avenue. Costumes, makeup,
Some lousy script of song and dance everyone
Sat through and wanted more of every Saturday
After Mum had said: ’Let’s go to the flicks’
And we came home from that dreaming place

Where the Sun is now derelict and only lights
Up for vandals, who make fires in the dress
Circle, front and back stalls, turning the floors
And ceiling into charcoal as delicate as Violet Crumble.

Copyright Helen Chierego.

(Note: I wrote this poem long before the revival of the theatre when the interior was still a burnt out ruin.)

Helen Chierego is a traditional/digital artist who has adapted traditional art skills to new technology. Her preferred tools are Corel Painter, Photoshop; a stylus and graphics tablet. Helen takes on a limited number of portrait commissions each year. For enquiries regarding licensing images or commissions, she can be contacted via Bubblemail. All images in Helen Chierego’s portfolio are copyright protected and only available for authorized use.

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  • aglaia b
    aglaia bover 6 years ago

    excellent viewpoint helen, great cinema.
    you have done it justice with this marvellous piece! ;-) xox

  • Thank you! Great to hear that comment from a master photographer like you!!!! Cheers Helen xox

    – © Helen Chierego

  • janpiller
    janpillerover 6 years ago

    What an awesome and surreal shot! It would make a great movie poster or album cover!

  • Jan, I agree with you it does have the look of a poster/album cover. thanks to the art deco architecture and the angle. Thank you. Cheers Helen

    – © Helen Chierego

  • PJ Ryan
    PJ Ryanover 6 years ago

    love this ! this looks so fabulous xx

  • Nicole, glad you like it. I’ve been going to take some photos of the Sun for a long time. Finally got moving and captured it. Cheers Helen xox

    – © Helen Chierego

  • byronC
    byronCover 6 years ago

    i love it!
    do some more pics of the western suburbs of Melb!

  • Glad you love it! I will do more of the western subs. Have you seen my Altona images?

    – © Helen Chierego

  • JimFilmer
    JimFilmerabout 6 years ago

    An excellent art deco feel and look… great perspective Helen

  • Jim, thank you.

    – © Helen Chierego

  • shanemcgowan
    shanemcgowanabout 6 years ago

    Tis is awesome, lovely colours too helen,

  • Shane, thank you. Glad you like it. Cheers Helen

    – © Helen Chierego

  • Adrian Donoghue
    Adrian Donoghueabout 6 years ago

    Nice capture Helen.

  • Antanas
    Antanasabout 6 years ago


  • Matt Simner
    Matt Simnerabout 6 years ago

    Love this!

  • Ted Byrne
    Ted Byrneabout 6 years ago

    The texture you’ve found in the skin of the buildings is magical Helen. You have dapped the facades with detail in a way that makes the composition shimmer. It’s wonderful how that lets my imagination sort of tumble into the sun against the heavens. Your poem is universal, and it seemed written about the The Strand which stood on Lehigh Avenue I think in Philadelphia and tractor-beamed me there every Saturday of my kid-hood.

    Everywhere in the world, kids had their Sun.

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