Embassy Theatre

10 Kent Terrace,
Wellington

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Opened October 31, 1924 as the 1749-seat Deluxe, the Embassy is believed to have one of the largest screens in the Southern Hemisphere. Its exterior is stripped classical, and the interior is classic Greek Revival hardtop. The lobbies are mosaic floor, and the theater contains a Sicilian white marble staircase, blue tiled walls, and bronze fittings.

The original screen and proscenium is hidden but preserved behind an enormous 70mm screen and proscenium installed in 1965. The downstairs is closed but not damaged, reducing seating to 852. Renovation revealed original paintings hidden behind 1960s false ceiling. Work was completed on December 19 2001 for the premiere of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings.

Contributed by Alistair Stewart

Recent comments (view all 10 comments)

CarrieThomas
CarrieThomas on February 25, 2003 at 10:23 pm

Kindest regards Embassy Theatre: I’m writing from the US, re: a communication from kiwiattic.com, for the final movie of the “Lord of the Rings.” I’d like to be apart of this, and would like to be put on a mailing list, updates list, how to what to do list, to get info to plan for the event. Are you doing that yet? If so, what do you need from me? Thank you in advance for your assistance, and cheers to “leanne” at kiwiattic.com, and others in your community, including your mayor, government, and tourism, for giving the early word to spur people to share in this, with your country. Best regards, Carrie Thomas

GraemeEdwards
GraemeEdwards on October 8, 2004 at 8:43 pm

The Embassy underwent a major restoration/re-development in 2003 as a precursor for the World Premiere of Peter Jackson’s RETURN OF THE KING. The “tacky” proscenium installed in 1965 for 70mm was removed and the huge screen was moved higher and further back – this time a new proscenium was created that is in keeping with the existing style of the interior and one would never know it is not original.
The stalls, which hadn’t been used since 70mm was installed, were finally sealed off and two new cinemas were built in this disused space. Other improvements include: air-conditoning, reduced seating to accomodate wider rows & bigger more luxurious seats, foyer refurbishment, new 35mm/70mm projector & all Digital sound formats. A great cinema to see a movie – the sound and picture rock!
A

GraemeEdwards
GraemeEdwards on October 17, 2004 at 1:07 am

Here are some pictures & sound details.
View link

GraemeEdwards
GraemeEdwards on October 17, 2004 at 1:13 am

This is the official site for the Trust that owns the building. Lots more pictures here.
http://www.theembassytheatretrust.org.nz/

RobertR
RobertR on October 17, 2004 at 9:23 am

I am trying to see if I got this right. When 70mm was installed the screen was hung high and the orchestra was not used? Then they built two new cinemas under the balcony?

mrt1924
mrt1924 on April 7, 2005 at 11:08 pm

This lovely theatre is protected by the New Zealand Historic Places Trust with a Grade 1 listing.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on January 17, 2006 at 4:41 pm

A recent exterior photograph of the Embassy Theatre with a “Lord of the Rings” ‘extra’:
View link

Bradley Knewstubb
Bradley Knewstubb on October 13, 2008 at 5:17 am

Now operated by Sky City Cinemas, still only one screen.

Mark747
Mark747 on March 13, 2010 at 6:48 pm

More historical information and photos on the Embassy here:
View link

Wilkinson
Wilkinson on May 12, 2010 at 8:22 pm

Just to correct the info given above, the 70mm screen and proscenium was installed in 1960 not 1965.
The first 70mm film shown was “Porgy and Bess”.

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