Paris Theatre

205-207 Liverpool Street,
Sydney, NSW 2000

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Paris Theatre

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The Paris Theatre in downtown Sydney started its life as the Australian Picture Palace when it opened on 7th January 1916.

On 9th November 1935, the theatre was renovated and renamed the Tatler Theatre. The theatre then switched to showing second or third run films on a weekly basis. In 1943, Warner Bros. and Hoyts could not agree on contract terms and Warners amassed a large stockpile of unreleased films. A company known as ‘Austral American Productions’ came to an exclusive arrangment with Warner Bros. to release Warner films.

The Tatler Theatre re-opened as a first run theater on August 5, 1943, with the film “They Died with their Boots On” starring Australia’s Errol Flynn. Just three years later, the theatre switched formats once again; this time to revival screenings. Patronage was declining, so, in 1949, another change brought ‘live’ revue acts on stage, with two shows a day. Unable to find an audience, the Tatler Theatre closed for good a year later, in 1950.

In 1952, the thearer was purchased by the Hoyts Theatres circuit, refurbished, and renamed the Park Theatre. In 1954, it became the Paris Theatre and continued under that name until Hoyts left the theatre in 1977, after opening their new seven-cinema complex three blocks away in George Street, Sydney.

After Hoyts vacated, the theatre continued to operate for a few years showing films and ‘live’ theatre before it closed and was eventually demolished.

Today, the corner site is now a towering apartment building, housing not only the YMCA, but a Mormon Chapel as well. This spot, overlooking beautiful Hyde Park, is considered to be one of the best real estate locations in Sydney.

Contributed by John Adey

Recent comments (view all 13 comments)

AnthonyMe
AnthonyMe on April 27, 2009 at 1:47 am

Although I had been to numerous other Sydney theatres and drive-ins, the Paris holds a special place in my heart. Living way out in the suburbs, as a boy, when I got my very first job delivering papers for the local newsagent, I spent my first week’s pay on a trip to the movies in the city. It was also my first time going out somewhere without adult supervision. I saw a few James Bond double-features at the Paris. I vividly remember trailers for the Japanese film “The Bullet Train” and a pirate movie starring Robert Shaw. This would have 1976, so not too long before it ceased showing movies.

My Dad was a huge movie buff and amateur filmmaker, so he took me to movies from the time I was knee-high to a grasshopper… my earliest memory at a huge theatre being a family film of some description late 1967. I’m so grateful to have lived at a time when cinema going was so much more of an event — a huge night out.

Ian Rochford
Ian Rochford on July 1, 2010 at 11:06 pm

We were making short films in the 70s, and we shot some scenes for one in the Paris. At the time, it had been painted throughout by Martin Sharpe for whatever live show was on (we filmed their backdrop as well).

During the shoot I photographed the interior of the theatre, including the architecture and lights. I still have the negs and a pile of black and white 6x10 prints. Do you know if they’d be of any interest to anyone?

JohnHolloway
JohnHolloway on July 2, 2010 at 2:27 am

Hi Ian,
A friend and myself leased the Paris Theatre for a (very) short time after Hoyts shut it when their 7 screen centre opened in George Street. I am currently writing an article on that brief time for the Cinema And Theatre Historical Society’s publication – Cinemarecord – and would love to obtain your photos for the CATHS`archive, which is the only active archive in Australia for cinema and theatre memorabilia preservation. Please contact me at Look forward to hearing from you.
Regards, John Holloway.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 31, 2011 at 5:29 am

There’s a photo of the entrance of a large theater in the December 24, 1921, issue of Exhibitors Trade Review, and the caption identifies it as the Crystal Palace Theatre in Sydney. Could it be the Paris Theatre? It can be seen at lower left of this scan at the Internet Archive (click the + sign at lower right of the page to make it bigger.)

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on December 31, 2011 at 5:47 am

Joe; Nice link, but the Crystal Palace Theatre was on George Street, Sydney. It opened in June 1914 and was demolished in 1937 for the new Century Theatre to be built on the site. It too has since been demolished.

brucek
brucek on January 8, 2014 at 12:15 pm

This was the very first proper picture theatre that I, a young boy from a northern NSW country town, ever visited. It was in 1954, the Disney movie “The Living Desert” was featured, I was 9 years old and holidaying in The Big Smoke with my grandparents.

For a kid who only ever watched “pitchers” in the local School of Arts (which every country town seemed to have), the Paris was like another planet to my 9-year old senses! Great memories, deeply etched.

Oddly, when I grew up and later went to Sydney to work, I ended up in an office building in Goulburn street, just around the corner from the Paris, and saw its demolition.

lakelady2282
lakelady2282 on September 9, 2015 at 3:33 pm

Just wondering if anyone knows how big the lobby was of the Paris Theatre back in the 1920s. Writing a novel and doing some research. Any lead would be appreciated.

itinerama
itinerama on June 18, 2016 at 11:29 pm

The cinema had a dreadfully very,very small screen for screening 70mm films. What a waste of 70mm.

rivest266
rivest266 on July 13, 2016 at 5:18 pm

September 30th, 1954 grand opening ad as Paris in photo section.

rivest266
rivest266 on July 13, 2016 at 5:25 pm

November 9th, 1935 grand opening ad as Tatler in photo section.

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