IT’S good to see the restoration work on the frontage of Theatre Elli.
It looked like hard work when I looked over from Greenfield on Sunday as the workers were carefully knocking down the bricked walls which have covered the original exterior for so many years.
Theatre Elli was originally the ‘Odeon’ cinema which opened in Llanelli in 1939 and for all the years that followed was the hub of Llanelli’s entertainment often with the sign ‘Full House’ appearing especially on Saturday nights.
Llanelli’s ‘Odeon’ like all others with the Odeon group had its own distinctive architectural style which set it apart from all other cinemas.
Now, thanks to the restoration work we are seeing again the distinctive stonework that was covered over when the cinema changed hands first of all to the ‘Classic’ cinema group and then to council control when ‘Theatre Elli’ became the home of local theatre groups and live entertainment of all sorts.
Now there’s a new ‘Odeon’ at the other end of the town and ‘Y Ffwrness’ has all the features of modern theatre. Hopefully this fine building which for most of us was our first experience of ‘going to the pictures’ will soon be fully restored and that will be a real boost for our town and community.
The highlight of our week as children was always the Saturday morning film show with hundreds of us being led across the busy traffic lights by older boys and girls known as ‘marshals.’ The main film always had a moral message amid the roars of excitement as the baddies met their match. Then there was a cliff hanging serial which got us back the following week; and what about that song?
Still in my mind after all these years – ‘We come along on a Saturday morning, greeting everybody with a smile’ Forgive me if I’m getting a bit nostalgic, or rather is it showing my age.
Nostalgia need not always be negative and sentimental. Often, we can look back with fondness; other times we may not want even to go there because the memories are just too painful.
Learning from the past can be of great benefit, staying there and letting the circumstances of the past intimidate and control the present can have a stifling effect on our lives.
In gratitude to God for his faithfulness we can treasure the past, live in the present and be confident for the future because God is with us each step of the way.
Each and every day is a gift of God’s grace which challenges us to us all to use our time well and not only to ‘greet everybody with a smile’ but to love God and our neighbour as we love ourselves.