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Oh ma Lordee, lookee here
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For your happy weekend viewing and welcome contributions ...

The best of our theatre districts, past and present: the intention here not to dogmatically assert superiority of any one city's over the other ...the warmth of the footlights is universal, and warms the cockles of the heart everywhere.

The best-looking theatre in the Western World and the universe, bar none, is the Princess Theatre, Melbourne, and I'm sorry, just don't bother to argue about that, because - in the silence of my lonely room - you are going to lose it:





Home of Australia's most famous theatrical ghost, the great 'Federici,' baritone, who died of a heart attack while descending into the fiery pit of hell during a performance of Gounod's 'Faust' in 1888 - buried in Melbourne's General Cemetery, but still stalking the backstage pits and corridors: many manifestations - J.C. Williamson's, when they owned the theatre, kept a vacant reserved seat for him in the Dress Circle for decades.






In Federici's day




Melbourne's theatre district is concentrated in the East End. It extends from the Princess in Spring Street down to Her Majesty's and The Comedy on Exhibition Street, the Regent (Collins Street) and The Forum (Flinders and Russell) not far away.


H.M.'s Theatre, Exhibition




The Comedy, across the road from Her Majhesty's.




I am 30 years old, going on 64 (which I turned today). I never actually attended a performance at The Tivoli (Bourke Street) - but the legend of topless showgirls, standing stock still under orders of Arthur Rylah and the Vice Squad, haunted my school days. They are as familiar to me as if I gave their titties a squeeze...instead of looking at the b & pictures posted outside during school holidays excursions into the city.. when we watched the latest Alan Ladd and Randolph Scott westerns in the cinemas and went to basement 'hour shows' (newsreel and cartoons) in between sessions...

Photo Ross King:


The Tivoli's 'Oympic Follies' was the big show in late 1956. London music hall performer Harry Rickard came here and established Tivoli theatres in most Australian capitals in the early 20thC,m starting, I think, in Sydney.


Programme for Olympic Follies, 1956









The Tivoli site in Melbourne had a hallowed theatrical tradition, extending well back into the mid-19thC. Built over former stables, it was the site of Melbourne's first Opera House, and it was said you could still smell the stables at intermission:






Somehow this leggy lady doesn't look Japanese to me - and, without going into details, I should know:





The site of the Melbourne's Opera House became the Tivoli in 1914, and closed in 1966. It had a brief re-birth as a cinema, before burning down in April 1967 - a sure sign of failure - and it's great past is now memorialized only as an arcade name through the RMIT business school.




Moving on, to a show at Her Majesty's in Exhibition Street(Perth's still seems to have an 'His Majesty's' for some reason):



Programme ladies



Foyer for 'Fiddler'




Bar






Bar sales



Pavement dining outside




Adelaide Today! (just joking). Looks like it was a great show:



Melbourne has many live theatres: The magnificent Palais in St Kilda is but one:






The Regent, a priceless piece of the city's heritage, was saved from destruction by the union movement in the 1970s. Formerly a cinema, it is now one of the Mariner groups's live stage performance venues:























1975 - under threat, closed for more than two decades:




Cinema hey-day






Dress Circle 1946





Screw The Age







A show at The Regent: I think it was called We Will Rock, and featured the sounds of Queen. I must have missed it. See the end for my musical tastes.




The Plaza Cinema, underneath The Regent, has become a ballroom now




The Forum at Flinders and Russell Streets, Melbourne - another former cinema (originally The State)




as a theatre restaurant




Elsewhere, Sydney's Capital. Sydney has many great theatres, here some images from early days




a cast at Sydney's Capitol, looking theatrical, 1920s




The show was Casino de Paris at the Theatre Royal, Sydney, 1971



Tivoli girls entertain troops at the Myer Allied Services canteen, 1943




And we've seen this elsewhere. Melbourne Theatre Company's new digs, u/c



That's about it atm. Slightly pissed effort. Please post your city's theatre district and thespian memorabilia. Happy birthday Bronte (I got tickets for the Bob Dylan concert - yep, that's my age. Still feel the same).
 

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Perth used to have so many theatres and cinemas when she was in her prime, around the 40's and 50's.

The growth of the car and home entertainment stopped that. They where all demolished in the 70's to make way for 'modern' buildings.

In the not-to-distant future, I will try and uncover each and every one of these lost gems and showcase them here. In the process, i'll try not to cry.

Happy b'day too!! :)
 

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great thread. someone did one of these years ago which was brilliant but sadly it dropped off the end.anyway
sydney has some of Australia's great theatres.
CAPITAL and STATE- Australia s talllest? lol 12storeys/55m

capital
this is just the foyer















great gothic facade of market st /1937/12st/55m
 

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selling my body since 88'
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Bronteboy i love your threads. Princess Theatre, Melbourne...WOW WOW. I agree it would be one of the best looking thetres in the universe. What an asset to Melbourne and Oz in general.
@ Cul you must have pics of every building ever made lol.
 

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selling my body since 88'
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The Capitol Theatre was built on the site of the 1893 Sydney Fruit and Vegetable market. The site was later redeveloped for Wirth Bros Circus, opening as the Hippodrome in 1916. The original facade of the markets has been retained, although the 36 street level arches were rebuilt up to the second level of the building.

In 1927, Union Theatres took over the lease (the property was and is still owned by the Sydney City Council) and converted it into a movie palace. Sydney architect Henry White, went to America in 1927 to get ‘know-how' on what was the latest in theater design.

Sorry about the crappy images all i could find
(from the official website)

Foyer






Inside the theatre








From the top terrace



View from the stage



Saw the lion king in @ the Capitol and the interior was stunning (so was the production).

Now need some pics of the thetre royal @ MLC, and the various theatres near the city.
 

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Lets see what Brisbane ones I can find in my little vault

Queen St 1958, this area was probably what you would call Brisbane's theatre district of the time,
of course by then, a lot were showing films, as movies had started taking over from live performances.

In this picture you can see the Regent, the Odeon, the Wintergarden and Her Majestys,
behind the camera is Albert Street, which had the Tivoli, the Forum and 2 others that I can't remember the names of.



Tivoli (demolished to make way for the King George Sq expansion)




The old Regent


Her Majestys


The WinterGarden


Present Performing Arts Centre




 

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Oh ma Lordee, lookee here
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vairy naice Stiffy!





(he was born, appropriately, in Adelaide's Hindley Street in 1891, and won a singing competition at the Adelaide Market 10 years later. Admired Chaplin, but once said Chaplin didn't have his "lovely pathos." )
 

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Thanks for the images, sublime! The Capital in Sydney has my favourite interior & i have to agree, the Princess has the finest exterior, so distinctive & opulent. Spectacular shot of Brisbane's neon-fuelled Queen St too! Are any of those theatres still in use?

It's great that the Princess & Regent in Melbourne can maintain a viable working life, but i find it a shame that they have to survive on a diet of mainstream musical 'blockbusters'. I've had to dodge a few elderly relatives to avoid being pulled into one of these staged 'spectaculars'!

I believe that Sydney has none of its historic purpose-built theatres left (The Capital & State were originally cinemas like the Forum & Regent in Melbourne). If that's the case, it's pretty remarkable considering smaller cities like Hobart & Adelaide continue to operate some original theatres.

BTW, does anyone have photos of Melbourne's Athenaeum Theatre, particularly the interior?
 

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Thanks for the thread B'day boy. Three cheers to you :cheers: :cheers: :cheers: !
 

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Spectacular shot of Brisbane's neon-fuelled Queen St too! Are any of those theatres still in use?
Of that Queen St photo, only the Regent is still there, and it was modified in the late 70's to be more movie friendly, reducing the size of the original auditorium and adding smaller theatres.
 

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Seen the above pic a gazillion times but never tire of it. Them were the days eh? It looks how a theatre district should look even though places like Woolies is included but in the same nightlife spirit. Long-gone are all those bright lights.

BTW What is the tall lit tower-like structure in the background? Anyone know?
 

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They used to have a few radio towers in the city back then, that one is in the vicinity of the old Courier Mail building, who used to own 4BH, so it could be theirs.
 

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I am 30 years old, going on 64 (which I turned today). I never actually attended a performance at The Tivoli (Bourke Street) - but the legend of topless showgirls, standing stock still under orders of Arthur Rylah and the Vice Squad, haunted my school days. They are as familiar to me as if I gave their titties a squeeze...instead of looking at the b & pictures posted outside during school holidays excursions into the city.. when we watched the latest Alan Ladd and Randolph Scott westerns in the cinemas and went to basement 'hour shows' (newsreel and cartoons) in between sessions...

Happy Birthday.
Thanks for the great tour. I also did all those things like you and set out to go to all the cinemas and theatres in Melbourne CBD which I eventually did..
I was lucky to go to the Melbourne Tivoli as a kid (sneaked in and saw the "Follies" showgirls who for their day in 1950s Melbourne were very risque!) before and after the refurb which by the way was hideous with what looked like grey lino on the walls.
IMHO the Regent Theatre in Melbourne is the best in Australia by a long way ( I have been to all the Melbourne and Sydney theatres mentioned and then some)followed closley by the State Theatre at the Arts Centre
For outside beauty the Princess is outstanding but a bit like the SOH is very disappointing inside..

The Capitol (and State now Forum in Melbourne were "atmospheric " theatres and very similar in design) and State in Sydney are also magnificent reminders of the wonderfull "picture palaces" that all the capital cities had.

The Capitol in Melbourne should get a mention just for Walter Burley Griffins spectacular ceiling alone. The Metro in Bourke Street also was used as a live theatre when first built as the Palace Theatre and owned by George Adams of Tatts fame it was again used briefly in the 1970s for a run of the musical Hair before becoming a disco/club as it still is to this day..
 

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Happy Birthday Bronteboy! Great info...and pics!
 

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Sydney also has the Lyric Theatre at Star City Casino which tends to get many of the major productions. Currently it's doing Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.

It is promoted as 'Sydney's only purpose built theatre'

Very hard to find shots of the complex

 

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What about the wonderful Athenaeum on Collins St? Stage of Australia's longest running and successful theatre production - Wogs Out of Work - by Nick Giannopoulos and Simon Palomares.


 

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Firstly a couple more of our favourite Princess:




And now for the State Theatre, which actually contains two theatres:


 
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