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Historical cinema to re-open after extensive renovation
The old Cinema Variétés in the centre of Brussels will eventually re-open and encompass more than film, according to its new owner. The venue on Rue de Malines, near Rogier, closed in 1983.
Variétés was home to the largest cinema screen in Brussels before Kinepolis opened in the late 1980s. It also has the honour of being able to seat some 2,400 people.
That is what will allow new owners Bxl Laïque to turn it into a more diverse arts centre that will host film screenings, as well as theatre, debates and special events. “We are going to launch an architectural competition for the complete renovation of the space,” said Arianne Hassid of Bxl Laïque, known for its annual Festival des Libertes at Théatre National.
The organisation bought the long-empty building from the French Community for €750,000 and hopes to be able to open it by 2022. Brussels’ monuments department has asked Bxl Laïque to preserve the glass facade of the building, and the organisation agreed to the request.
“It will be great to have our own building,” said Hassid, “because we host so many activities that require us to hire a venue.”
Photo: Cinema Variétés in the early 1940s