Cousins Spiro and Angelo Notaras.
Cousins Spiro and Angelo Notaras. Adam Hourigan

Honouring the cultural contribution of Spiro and Angelo

THE Saraton Theatre is an icon on Grafton's main street.

But two of the men who own it are even more iconic in the community and at today's Clarence Valley Council meeting, Mayor Jim Simmons will use a mayoral minute to honour them.

Angelo and Spiro Notaras were a driving force behind the multi-million dollar refurbishment of the theatre.

 

KEY FAMILY: Spiro Notaras playing the piano on the Saraton Theatre stage. INSET: Angelo Notaras.
KEY FAMILY: Spiro Notaras playing the piano on the Saraton Theatre stage. INSET: Angelo Notaras. Adam Hourigan Photography

In his mayoral minute, Cr Simmons said: "Without the drive and financial contribution of Angelo and Spiro and also the backing of Angelo's brothers John and Mitchell, the refurbished 950-seat theatre would not have occurred. The Clarence Valley is blessed to have the largest working art deco theatre and cinema in Australia which is the envy of many communities due to this great family."

In the early 1900s, John and Tony Notaras opened a cafe then built the Saraton Theatre, which was opened in 1927 by the mayor Alderman WT Robinson.

The Saraton Theatre got its name from a backward spelling of the Notaras family name.

By 1999, the theatre was deteriorating and narrowly avoiding being demolished during the expansion of Shoppingworld.

Spiro, Angelo, Mitchell and John bought the theatre from other family members in 2008.

This is when the multi-million dollar refurbishment began.

The family worked closely with council's heritage staff and planners to ensure the restoration stayed true to the history of the building.

 

Spiro Notaras' cousin Angelo delivers the eulogy.Photo Adam Hourigan / The Daily Examiner
Spiro Notaras' cousin Angelo delivers the eulogy.Photo Adam Hourigan / The Daily Examiner Adam Hourigan

When the redevelopment was complete, the main theatre seated 950 people and there were two new theatres that seated 130 and 140 people.

They installed new equipment in the main theatre for live performances, which has led to the Saraton Theatre becoming one of the most sought-after performance spaces on the North Coast.

A new marble-floored foyer was constructed and modern state of the art sound systems, new plumbing, electrical wiring, air conditioning and new seating were installed.

The theatre officially reopened on November 23, 2010 when they screened the silent movie Grafton at Work and Play, which was originally screened at the theatre's opening.

Since then, the theatre has held multiple concerts including The McClymonts, Jimmy Barnes, Ian Moss, Guy Sebastian, David Helfgott, Marina Prior, Doug Anthony Allstars and more big names in music and comedy.

Cr Simmons has proposed that council acknowledge the major cultural and economic contribution the Notaras family has made to the Clarence Valley through the refurbishment and expansion of the Saraton Theatre.

Council will also pass on condolences to the family of Angelo Notaras following his death on November 1.



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