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UC's drive-in cinema welcomes the community

Katarina Slavich

24 August 2020: Drive-in cinemas are enjoying a real comeback in the era of physical distancing, as events that allow people to be together while still safely apart.

Following the success of the University of Canberra’s drive-in cinema for students during O-Week, the drive-in is returning to campus – but this time, it will be open to the entire Canberra community.

From 27 – 29 August, Canberrans will have the opportunity to choose from four different movie screenings, enjoyed in the comfort of their own car. The movies on offer include The Hangover, Easy A, a family-friendly screening of The Lego Movie and The Hunger Games.

“We are excited to be able to offer the Canberra community a socially-distanced event that can still bring people together during these tough times,” said Director of the University of Canberra eXperience (UCX) team, Sarah Jennett.

“We sold out the student drive-in cinema experience during O-Week which saw more than 300 students watching a great selection of movies with their friends, from their own cars.”

The drive-in cinema at the University will be the only drive-in movie experience in Canberra until October. It’s also the only drive-in featuring an LED screen, which means a clearer image is projected and the movie event can still go ahead in inclement weather.

Affordable food options will be available at each screening as well as drinks, snacks and of course, popcorn.

“We have got four shows running across three days next weekend but depending on how the public respond, we will consider putting on another weekend of screenings if there is an appetite for it,” said Ms Jennett.

Executive Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Design Professor Jason Bainbridge says it makes sense that there has been a resurgence of the popularity of drive-in cinemas during the COVID-19 pandemic, when we’re desperately seeking ways to be connected and entertained, while still respecting social distancing requirements.

“Drive-ins have always been a popular way of bringing groups of people, particularly families [with parents in the front seat and little kids in the back] to experience cinema,” said Professor Bainbridge.

Professor Bainbridge says that nostalgia is a large part of the drive-in’s appeal.

“What we might think of as the first drive-in dates back to 1915, in America. The importance of car culture in Australia means the drive-in has always played an important role in the Australian identity, particularly in the 1950s and 1960s, when there were around 330 drive-ins across the country.”

Professor Bainbridge also believes drive-ins will be around for a while to come, especially as the pandemic continues.

“As long as COVID-19 continues to challenge conventional media distribution models, with some companies opting for video on-demand releases rather than theatrical releases, and audiences being reluctant to gather in public spaces, drive-ins will remain a vital option for people looking to go out with others, and see movies in a relatively safe environment.”

Tickets for the UC drive-in cinema are $45 per car for the general public and $30 per car for students. Tickets are on sale now at this link.

Movie screenings

Thursday 27 August, 6.30pm (gates open 5.30pm)

The Hangover

Friday 28 August, 6.30pm (gates open 5.30pm)

Easy A

Saturday 29 August, 1.30pm (gates open 12.30pm)

The Lego Movie

Saturday 29 August, 6.30pm (gates open 5.30pm)

The Hunger Games