Plaza Theatre

Plaza Arcade, Hay Street Mall,
Perth, WA 6000

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Hoyts' Plaza Theatre was opened on Perth’s Hay Street in 1937 and had a seating capacity of 1,314. Built on the site of the former Majestic Picture Theatre, the theatre was part of a new arcade development linking Hay and Murray Streets. The arcade remains one of Perth’s busiest, while the theatre has been closed and put to other uses in recent decades.

Designed by W.G. Bennett in association with Melbourne’s H. Vivian Taylor, the facade of the theatre/arcade is narrow but dramatic, presenting a stylised skyscraper effect in classic art deco fashion. It opened a year in advance of the rival development of the Piccadilly Theatre (still operating) and Arcade, located 60 metres further to the west on Hay Street.

Like its late-1930s rivals – the Piccadilly and the Metro (on William Street) – the Plaza offered a new level of comfort for Perth’s movie-goers. Unlike the vast atmospheric Ambassadors (across the street from the Plaza) and the monumental Capitol Theatre (on William Street), the new-wave art deco cinemas were compact and stylishly modern.

The Plaza underwent an extensive upgrade in 1965, re-opening with “The Sound of Music”. With increased capacity, a new screen and plusher appointments, the Plaza became Hoyts' premier theatre in Western Australia, home to the blockbusters. In 1974, or thereabouts, Hoyts chose (for reasons unknown) to re-name the theatre the Paris. Soon after, Hoyts relinguished their lease to the Ace Theatre group. With the advent of the multi-screen central city and suburban complexes, The Paris was shut down, briefly becoming a youth disco.

My first experience of the Plaza was in the late 1950’s when, as a very young child, I saw Michael Todd’s “Around the World in 80 Days”. My one memory of the film is of Shirley MacLaine about to be burnt alive on the funeral pyre. It still gives me nightmares!

Contributed by barryinperth

Recent comments (view all 5 comments)

Alexinperth
Alexinperth on June 11, 2006 at 5:43 pm

I remember seeing SOUTH PACIFIC at the Plaza. The cinema installed a new curtain in white with big pink flowers on it and sprayed floral perfume in the auditorium during the movie. Such was the charm of the cinema in those days. SOUTH PACIFIC was also filmed in TODD-AO like AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS. The Plaza installed the special sized screen for those movies. The cinema had an elegant atmosphere. Pity the cinema is not open today. They could re-open and show a lot of the old movies of the 50s and 60s on the big screen. Time to re-live the past, eh!!? Alexinperth

mancz
mancz on May 24, 2007 at 1:35 am

does anyone have any pictures of this theatre? I walk past this building, and through the arcade below it quite often wondering whats inside…

Mark747
Mark747 on June 18, 2010 at 7:23 pm

Here is more information on the Plaza with a photo, was built on the site of the old Majestic Theatre:
View link

Old photo of The Majestic:
View link

damient86
damient86 on October 16, 2011 at 7:01 am

Here’s an incredible series of 3D photos of the auditorium. As you can see it was painted black from when it was a disco, and the chairs were removed. But it’s still there waiting.

View link

barryinperth
barryinperth on September 15, 2013 at 3:42 am

It’s heartening that the PLAZA/PARIS still exists, modified and mothballed but not destroyed. Is there someone out there who could bring this fine art deco environment back to life? If you look at the images posted by damient86, you’ll see the fine deco ceiling and streamlined wall motifs. This remains a mini-treasure awaiting re-discovery.

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