Vardø obtained its first permanent cinema in 1911. The new attraction was called “Bio-teateret” (Bio Theatre). It was the town photographer, Olaf Jacobsen, who lent his support for what nowadays goes by the name of “Gammelkinoen” (The Old Cinema).

The Old Cinema is situated on the corner of Søndre Langgate and Jørgens gate in Østervågen. The cinema was built in 1911, probably in a Jugend-inspired style. The building was initially positioned in an east-west direction. In 1926, it was detached from its foundation wall and turned to a north-south position. The site was simultaneously extended by 12 metres. The building was constructed of timbers plastered on the exterior, so that it had the appearance of a stone house. In 1958-59, the cinema underwent a complete face-lift. Cinemascope and a hot-air installation were provided, and the site was painted both inside and out. When the 650th anniversary of Vardø Fortress and the church were celebrated in 1959, the municipality was able to offer a relatively modern, though far from up-to-date cinema.

The cinema acquired its current simple appearance, with undecorated wooden panelling, during the 1970s. During the 1980s, municipal cinema screenings were relocated to a gymnastics hall and The Old Cinema went into private ownership.

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Bio-teateret