Prince of Wales Theatre

William Street and Murray Street,
Perth, WA 6000

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Prince of Wales Theatre - Foyer - Perth

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Opened in 1922 and seating 2,300, the Prince of Wales Theatre was Perth’s first genuine picture palace of the silent era. At the time of its opening, its competitors were much smaller and far less ostentatious, despite their names -Britannia Theatre (1915), Grand Theatre (1916), Majestic Theatre (1917), Pavilion Theatre (1921) and Palladium Theatre (1921).

Built by Sir Thomas Coombe on the site of the former Melrose Theatre, the Prince of Wales Theatre was an elegantly handsome theatre in the late-Edwardian style, with the large auditorium featuring an elaborately moulded balcony.

The Prince of Wales Theatre offered movie-goers a full orchestra and specialty acts presented by a resident troupe of vaudevillians. In 1929, with the presentation of “The Jazz Singer”, it became the first theatre in Perth to install sound equipment (Western Electric).

Later, management decided that the theatre would only screen British films and it promoted itself as “Perth’s All British Theatre”.

Lavish foyer displays were a Prince of Wales Theatre’s trademark, and there was a strong focus on customer service. Possibly unique was the theatre’s refrigerator service. Shoppers could leave their perishables with the attendant, while they went in to enjoy the movie. The attendant was employed solely to operate the service and guard the refrigerator which was located in the foyer itself. With Perth’s scorching summer temperatures, this was a canny initiative on management’s part.

Regrettably, the Prince of Wales Theatre did not enjoy the lifespan it deserved. In 1935, just 13 years after its construction, it was demolished to make way for a new department store.

Contributed by barryinperth

Recent comments (view all 6 comments)

davidcoppock on June 29, 2015 at 7:19 am

The site is now the Perth underground train station,and shops and offices(180 william?).

davidcoppock on July 3, 2015 at 8:07 am

The Prince of Wales Theatre was on the North-east corner of William Street and Murray Street(now a mall on the Eastern side of William Street).

davidcoppock on July 6, 2015 at 6:51 am

The Melrose Theatre also had a pictutre gardens(also called Melrose.

davidcoppock on July 7, 2015 at 8:25 am

There is a picture of the Prince of Wales Theatre (unique?) refridgerator in the book Stage,screen and stars(page 29).

barryinperth on July 7, 2015 at 9:32 am

Hi David! Yes the ‘refridgerator’ pic is a classic!

davidcoppock on July 31, 2015 at 7:12 am

I wonder if the refridgerator from the the Prince of Wales Theatre still exists anywhere?

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