Bringing Arts and Community Together Under One Roof
Our aim is to:
The Majestic Culture Hub is an exciting proposition for a new lease on life for the Majestic Cinema.
The art deco gem located in Vuga; Stone Town is the last purpose-built cinema in Zanzibar that is still in use.
It is run by Abdulhussein Marashi, whose family has been in charge of the cinema since the 1960s.
Unfortunately, its current condition puts it at risk and actions need to be taken to save it from further deterioration.
Busara Promotions, (Re)cleaim Women Space, Zanzibar International Film Festival and Hifadhi Zanzibar Ltd.
Lead the campaign to restore the Majestic Cinema and Create a new and inclusive space for Zanzibar's arts scene and community.
Our aim is to give the building a new lease on life as a Culture Hub.
The plans for its future use have been developed together by the partners involved in the project and reflect our respective needs and desires.
The design of the hub will be centered around the cinema hall, which will be run by its current manager, but additional space for the creative community to work, exchange ideas and showcase their art will be provided.
The hub will also include office spaces, meeting rooms, and public spaces such as a restaurant and a café.
The Majestic Cinema is managed by Abdulhussein Marashi who has been working in the cinema since 1982 taking over from his father. Mr. Marashi has been keeping the cinema alive for the past four decades by playing movies for a small group of loyal movie fans. He also runs the restaurant at the rear of the building.
The Majestic Cinema opened its doors on October 20, 1955. The Art Deco building was designed by a local architect Dayalji Pitamber Sachania and was commissioned by one of Zanzibar’s cinema entrepreneurs Hassanlai Hameer Hasham after the old cinema went down in flames on February 8, 1954. The previous building, originally called the Royal Cinema, was the first luxurious cinema in East Africa. It was opened by Hassanali Adamjee Jariwalla and designed by J.H. Sinclair, the British Resident, and architect of buildings such as the Post Office and the Peace Memorial Museum in Zanzibar.
When built, the Majestic Cinema had a panoramic projection screen and stereophonic sound system and seating for 750 people, including a large steep balcony for 200 people. In addition to housing the cinema, the building is also housed at various moments in time: a restaurant, a canteen selling popcorn, sodas, pastries, and other nibbles, offices of Air Tanzania, and a hotel called Pigalle. Today the building in addition to being used as a cinema hall is also used for offices by the State University of Zanzibar. Ticket offices were originally located both at the front and at the rear of the cinema, where there is now an additional building housing a small restaurant and offices.
Majestic, the name says it all…
PROGRAMME PROJECTED AT FLOOR PLANS
The team behind the Majestic Culture Hub is composed of local organisations representing various aspects of Zanzibar’s rich culture.
What all the partners have in common is the shared believe in culture and its role as a powerful driver for development, with community-wide social,
economic and environmental impacts. Together and individually, we work to better the lives of the people around us and to make sure that everyone can enjoy the benefits of Zanzibar’s culture
Frequently asked questions:
- Cinema/ culture hall for performances and other activities
- Flexible performance spaces
- Meeting/workshop rooms
- Service spaces: kiosks, restaurant, cafe
The answer is everyone. Local organisations and artists will be able to use the space for working, meetings and workshops.
Government and international organisations can hold conferences and meetings in the premisses, while the local community will be able to enjoy the place by participating in events or simply hanging out in the comfortable and pleasant common spaces.
We are currently in the final stages of the Blueprints for Majestic Cinema project financed through a grant from Culture at Work Africa.
This project enabled us to do a research on the importance of cinema in Zanzibar and the history of the building,
carry out interviews with various people from the local community and prepare a relevant programme for the building reflecting the needs of its anticipated users.
The work continues, we are now looking for funding to prepare a technical condition assessment of the building and a restoration plan.