Unveiling the Jennifer Cook Movie Theatre: A Tribute to Family Connection

January 20, 2024

In a momentous celebration, our Mayflower Brighton Community gathered to witness the launch of their new Jennifer Cook Movie Theatre. Made possible with the generous bequest left to us by late resident of 25 years, Jenny Cook.

Pictured above: The very gentle and generous, Jenny Cook – known for her independent and kind spirit, always looking for a way to help others.

Jenny was a beloved resident, known for her kindness, independence, and generous spirit – often found ‘giving back’ to her Mayflower Community and making a difference by taking part in committee meetings and more.

The unveiling was more than a party; it was a heartfelt tribute to Jenny's legacy and a celebration of family, community, and the enchanting world of cinema.

Pictured above: Our VIPs in attendance left to right: Jenny's family and representatives. Pictured above: Our VIPs in attendance, left to right: Jenny's family and representatives. Renee - Jenny's niece, Claudia - Renee's mother and Jenny's sister-in-law. Jenny's sister Trish and her husband Geoff.

Join us on a virtual tour through the carefully curated details that make the Jennifer Cook Movie Theatre a haven of nostalgia, comfort, and shared experiences:

A Cinematic Transformation:

The journey began with a heartfelt mission—to craft a space where residents and their family members could immerse themselves in the captivating world of cinema. In tribute to Jenny's love for the theatre, the cinema was rebranded from just ‘the cinema’ to the ‘Jennifer Cook Movie Theatre.’

“When I received a message from Genevieve that Mayflower had thought of this idea of the ‘Jennifer Cook Movie Theatre’, I was knocked off my socks! I thought WOW this is unbelievable!” says Geoff, Jenny's brother-in-law, during his heartfelt speech at the launch.

Pictured above: ‘From Drab to Fab’…  The theatre, while it remained a ‘home cinema’, was ‘beige on beige’ and crowded with chairs. The room was also flooded with light due to the poor window coverings, making the screen appear dull.

Old Hollywood Art Deco Elegance:

The theatre embraces the timeless allure of old Hollywood Art Deco, from authentic 1930s reproduction wall sconces to a vintage-themed fridge and luxurious red cinema chairs. The retro fridge and air conditioning received the designer's touch, featuring matching art deco decals that transport visitors to a bygone era.

Pictured above: The wall was just a wall with a display case, and now: an Art Deco-style mirror, fridge and lamp complement the new Art Deco buffet.

Cinema Chairs with a Purpose:

Each cinema chair, adorned with Jenny’s name, is more than just a seat; it's a thoughtful design catering to comfort and accessibility.

We especially wanted to maintain safe access for wheelchair users, so we didn’t raise the floor or add steps – instead, we raised each row of chairs to maintain the best view possible, a notable difference from the old chairs, where the back row couldn’t see the screen.

The front chairs are the lowest, and will be especially beneficial for those with low vision.

Each row has been spread out so that someone can sit with their walking frame in front of them, and someone else can pass by for an intermission with minimal disruption.

Special features, like built-in cup holders, and armrests that raise up for the love birds among us, add a special touch of luxury to the experience.

Red was chosen for the chairs not just for its nostalgia, but because red is the first colour that is lost to our sight in low-light conditions - meaning they are less distracting as the lights go down and the movie starts to play.

Pictured above: There is plenty of room for wheelchair users, and for walking frames to comfortably fit between the rows. Each row is slightly taller than the previous row, creating a ramped effect for better visibility.

Reminiscing with Design Features:

Custom-designed wipeable wallpapers, chosen by residents, adorn the theatre - reflecting both the Art Deco theme and practical cleanability. Backlit movie posters proudly showcase the community's favourite classics, also nominated by residents - turning the theatre into a canvas of cherished memories. A custom-made and in-house designed "now showing" poster holder and a beautiful backlit sign enhance the old Hollywood feel, creating a memorable experience from the very entrance.

Pictured above: Backlit purpose-made posters and signage not only look beautiful, but help the space feel like a movie theatre from a bygone era, and help create an immersive experience for all.

Community-Centric Design:

Every design choice was made with the community in mind. Consultations with occupational therapists, nurses, lifestyle team members, and, most importantly, residents in both residential aged care and independent living, ensure that the theatre is a space of joy, nostalgia and inclusivity.

Pictured above: Many customised, vintage and retro design elements add Old Hollywood flair to the environment, with each piece chosen for a purpose.

During our consultations with our community, we added some key elements to the theatre, such as floor lights and custom-made entrance doors that open all the way were added –  playing a dual role of practicality and aesthetics.

A Heartfelt Thank You:

Generous bequests, such as Jenny's, play a crucial role in enhancing the quality of life for residents, both residential aged care and independent living residents living at Mayflower. They enable us to go above and beyond expected levels of care, creating an enriching environment where residents can enjoy activities like a trip to the movies without leaving the comfort of home. Jenny's selfless gift will leave an enduring impact, benefiting the lives of many residents for years to come.

Pictured above: Our CEO Stuart, and our MC, Con, on the evening. “I’m very proud of our team, and I’m very hopeful this will be the start of more and more fabulous projects like this, to rejuvenate and refresh everything we do at Mayflower,” says Mayflower CEO, Stuart Rodney.

Behind every successful venture are dedicated individuals. A sincere thank you to those who brought this vision to life:

Genevieve: The creative force, designer, and project manager behind the helm

Shay: Our meticulous electrician, whose lighting design and collaboration elevated the theatre.

John: Our skilled cabinet maker, for his invaluable support, sign building and involvement.

Leigh: Our builder for the project, whose expertise and craftsmanship played a pivotal role in transforming the entry and more.

Hitesh and Rumesh: Overseeing the project with dedication, and supporting Genevieve with big decisions along the way.

Nicole: Nicole’s interior design input added an extra layer of brilliance.

Residents who took part in providing ideas, feedback and movie requests – thank you.

Our VIPs in attendance: Jenny's sister Trish and her husband Geoff, Renee - Jenny's niece and Claudia - Renee's mother and married to Jenny's brother – thank you so much for gracing us with your attendance.

And to the many others who contributed along the way, thank you.

Pictured above, left image: Team members Genevieve, Rumesh, Hitesh and Nicole during the speech component of the launch ceremony. And pictured right, attendees Mitchel, our electrician Shay, a dedicated volunteer of 25+ years Judee, Elizabeth and Jack.

The launch party with heart:

The launch evening included bubbles, good food, and entertainment. Speeches by Jenny's brother-in-law Geoff, Genevieve, our CEO Stuart and a few words from independent living resident Stan added an emotional touch to the big day.  Con added a sense of humour and showbiz, by taking on the MC role.

“It’s unbelievable, words can’t describe it!   To the staff here at Mayflower, my heartiest congratulations!” said Geoff, after the unveiling.

Pictured above left: Geoff spoke thoughtful, beautiful words from the heart, bringing some listening onlookers to tears. And right, Stan says a few words of thankfulness on behalf of residents of both retirement living and residential aged care.

Looking Ahead:

As the community looks to the future, the Jennifer Cook Movie Theatre has become more than just a cinema. With VIP movie sessions, weekday releases, armchair travel, family-friendly Gold Class nights, sing-alongs, and a classical music appreciation program. The theatre is set to be a hub of cultural enrichment and shared experiences, a place where families create lasting memories.

Pictured above: 3… 2… 1… And she is launched! From left to right: CEO Stuart, Trish, incoming chair-person Mary-Jane, Genevieve and Con.  

Thank you, to the late Jenny Cook, and everyone who contributed to this vision.

Let's embark on this new chapter together, immersing ourselves in the enchanting world of cinema at the Jennifer Cook Movie Theatre—where every frame inspires, connects, and delights.

This act of kindness will resonate for years, touching the lives of countless residents. Jenny, your legacy is a beacon of warmth and joy, and we can't express our gratitude enough.

“We are so grateful for this bequest left by Jenny Cook. And we know, her legacy will last a lifetime,” says project manager, Genevieve Barclay, “we are very grateful, thank you.”

Pictured above: Come and join us on a cinematic adventure. Lifestyle Coordinator Hitesh guides Geoff and his wife Trish into the theatre for their first glimpse. Trish is seen pointing at Jenny Cook’s name up in lights in the theatre.

Watch the video below to see even more special highlights from the launch evening.

JC Movie Theatre Launch Highlights