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Link to news clip on Regal Theatre refurbishment: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PJpsH37z4dg
The interior restoration and upgrade of Perth’s historic Regal Theatre has been long awaited. Now that it is a reality, the next stage is the exterior. Bravo to all involved.
Perth’s Capitol was one of Australia’s finest ‘picture palaces’. It was sophisticated rather than gaudy, and many fine artisans and artists worked on its interior detailing and fittings. Greed during the 1960s mineral boom saw it demolished with barely a protest. The citizens of Perth now know what they lost when they allowed this civic vandalism.
Perth’s Regal Theatre is one of Australia’s most iconic Art Deco picture palaces and it’s so good to see the recent restoration. Of course today, it is a famous ‘live’ venue hosting many touring plays, musicals, ballets and comedy events.
This is a truly fabulous fly-thru. The FOX is clearly still one of the world’s great “picture palaces” (that’s what we call them here in Australia)… I’m in Perth, Western Australia, and if you’d like to see some of our lost palaces, check out the AMBASSADORS and the CAPITOL. Neither were in the mega league of the FOX but had they survived they would today be important LIVE VENUES …
Beautifully crafted mini-doco. Congrats to all!
Such a sad but regrettably all too familiar story. Here in Perth, on the other side of the Australian continent, we have lost all of our ‘picture palaces’, including the mighty Ambassadors and the fabulous Capitol. I only visited Brisbane’s Regent once – in the late 1960s – and I remember it fondly.
Thanks for this clarification, David!
Link didn’t work for me! I’d like to hear this …
There’s a bit of a revival happening with drive-ins. So, it’s a shame that most have been lost, particularly here in Western Australia – the perfect environment for outdoor screenings …
Hi David! Yes the ‘refridgerator’ pic is a classic!
David, you are right, of course. Cinema Paradiso in James Street, Northbridge (one of the Luna Palace Cinemas) is an oasis! In my earlier post, I was trying to stress the fact that within the old CBD there are no longer any cinemas screening first releases.
This was Hoyts Regent. It became the Perth Metro with an art deco makeover.
Great to have your comments!
David, how wonderful that you attended the auction. Ivan King has the magnificient peacock stage curtain at the WA Museum of Performing Arts, but I’d love to know where everything else ended up.
Vindapar, yes, Perth was a glorious city architecturally in the early 20th century thanks to the 1890s goldrush that transformed the city from a colonial backwater into a thriving city in the space of a decade.
And Theatre Historical Society of America, mega thanks for sharing on your Facebook page.
A wonderful documentary. Congratulations to all involved. Tulsa will be on my list for my next visit to the US.
A truly fabulous photograph!
I’m surprised that no-one has commented on this … Down Under and invisible?
Since I posted this and other images on my Facebook page, there has been a flurry of responses from Perth-based Baby Boomers, such as myself, who saw many movies at Hoyts Cinema 1 during the 1970s and ‘80s.
One of Australia’s greatest ‘atmospheric’ picture palaces, Perth’s Ambassadors was regrettably demolished in 1972.
The Savoy sign was preserved when the theatrette closed. The theatrette was in the basement of the Savoy Hotel, next door to the Plaza Theatre and Arcade.
Perth’s Ambassadors was one of three Eberson-inspired atmospheric picture palaces built by Australia’s Union Theatres Ltd in the late 1920s, the other two being Sydney’s Capitol (opened 7 April 1928) and Melbourne’s State (opened 23 February 1929). The architectural theme of The Ambassadors was that of a ‘Florentine renaissance garden’, complete with stuffed pigeons and peacocks imported from Durban in South Africa. A faithful replica of the ‘Bridge of Sighs’ was one of many artistic flourishes that made The Ambassadors a flamboyant experience for patrons.
I didn’t experience The Ambassadors until the late 1960s, by which time it had been long-stripped of most of its lavish decoration and statuary (by the Hoyts theatre chain which took it over c.1938). However, it was still a wonderfully atmospheric environment. One of the most poignant photographs depicting the demise of a picture palace was taken in 1972 during the early stages of The Ambassadors' demolition. Taken from the rear of the dress circle, a dramatic shaft of sunlight dissects the auditorium.The demise of Perth’s Ambassadors was regrettably a ‘landmark’ moment in the ‘progressive’ destruction of Perth’s architectural heritage that commenced in the late 1960s and continued well into the 1980s.
The Capitol’s auditorium was an elegant rectangular space. With the opening of the Capitol Theatre in May 1929 it was noted in The West Australian that Mouritzen (partner of George Temple Poole) drew up the original plan, and that he was ‘an advocate of the Continental style, but Messrs. Carberry and Chard, of Sydney, who acted as advisory architects for the lessee, were biased in favour of the American type of theatre. Collaboration between the two firms produced a design embracing the beauty of both schools …’
The Capitol’s crystal chandelier was purchased by the owners of Melbourne’s Princess Theatre, where it still hangs today (in the auditorium).
The Capitol’s beautifully stencilled ‘art nouveau’ dress circle foyer featured a marble plinth with the bust of Rudolph Valentino. The bust is today in the WA Museum of Performing Arts at His Majesty’s Theatre.