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A second cinema for Baffin Island

Panniqtuuq to get theatre

Kerry McCluskey
Northern News Services

Panniqtuuq (Aug 05/02) - Panniqtummiut will be relaxing in style this fall as they watch they latest from Hollywood.

Michael Murphy, a longtime resident of the community of 1,400, anticipates his 68-seat cinema, the Tarriganiaq Theatre, will be open and ready to show flicks by the end of October.

"I've always been into entertainment stuff," said Murphy, also the owner of Pang Video. Murphy has also owned an arcade and a cable television company during his time in the community.

The idea for the theatre dawned on him after listening to customers when they rented videos and DVDs.

"I'd be chatting with people and they said the first thing they do when they go to Iqaluit is go to the movie," said Murphy.

Iqaluit is currently home to Nunavut's one and only moviehouse, the Astro Theatre.

"It's always a risk when you go into business, but I think the support is there, especially from the kids. There's about 1,400 people here and the majority of them are under 25," he said.

With the $150,000 budget funded by the Baffin Business Development Centre, Murphy said the theatre will show two films per evening along with a Saturday matinee and will sell popcorn, goodies and soda pop.

The enterprise will also create three new full-time jobs and one part-time job in the community.

"I think it's an idea that will probably do very well in a community like Panniqtuuq," said Bryan Pearson, the owner of Iqaluit's theatre. "The kids are desperate for recreation. This is a good thing for the community," he said.

Murphy credits Pearson will helping him get his theatre off the ground.

"He knows where to go and where not to go, where to get your popcorn from," said Murphy.

Most of the renovations to the building Murphy purchased are complete. He said the finishing touches, including seating and other indoor equipment, were slated to arrive on the community's September sealift.