Regent Theatre

167 Queen Street,
Brisbane, QLD 4000

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Regent auditorium

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The newest addition to the Hoyts Theatres chain was the Brisbane Regent Theatre, which opened on 8th November 1929 with “Fox Movietone Follies of 1929”. The programme included ‘georgeous’ stage spectacles and music from classical to jazz was provided by the Regent Grand Concert Orchestra, with Stanley Wallace at the Wurlitzer 3Manual/15Ranks organ. It was designed for both films and live productions which followed the trend for similar buildings of that era. It was the first of the lavish American-styled picture palaces to be built in Queensland. It was an exhuberant mixture of Gothic and Empire period styles. The narrow black marble entrance hall with decorated barrel-vaulted ceiling and friezes was only a prelude to the stunning Gothic style foyer reminiscent of a medieval chapel where the arched ceiling murals were richly depicted in 13th century scenes. The immense white Queensland marble staircase which led to the mezzanine foyer was impressive. The workmanship was sumptuous.

Highlights in the auditorium were an elliptical dome in the main ceiling, chandelier, ornate proscenium arch, stage curtains, boxes, candelabra and orchestra pit which held 25 musicians. The Wurlitzer organ was removed from the building in November 1963 and was sold to a private residence in Lawson, N.S.W. Until 1978 when renovations were made, the original auditorium existed which had a capacity for 2,583 with 1,400 in the stalls and 1,183 in the balcony. The final performance in the original auditorium was on 29th July 1978 with a capacity audience attending a preview screening of “Thank God It’s Friday” plus selected film clips from 1929-1978.

Despite a ‘Save the Regent Campaign’, sadly, the magnificent auditorium was stripped of its fixtures and fittings in December 1978. In May 1979 work began on the internal demolition of the auditorium back to its brick walls. A four-screen cinema complex with 1,978 seats was built, of which Cinema One was decorated similarly to the earlier theme. The original 1929-era front of house and main foyers in their Gothic style were retained as an entrance to the plain cinemas.

In February 2008, plans were put forward to close the Regent Theatre, retaining the heritage listed facade and main foyers which would become an entrance to a new office tower block, to be built on the site of the auditoriums.

Greater Union Event Theatres closed the Regent Theatre on 5th June 2010 with “Titanic”, “Casablanca” and “Sex in the City” and “Lord of the Rings” being the final films screened. In November 2011, scaffold was erected on the front entrance to the building, in preparation for its demolition/conversion into the new office tower entrance. Demolition of the auditorium was completed in May 2012. The site remains an empty ‘hole in the ground’ in 2015.

Contributed by KinoCQ/Australian Cinema And Theatre Society

Recent comments (view all 34 comments)

brizregent on September 16, 2008 at 10:42 pm

BRISBANE REGENT NEEDS YOUR HELP! The Brisbane Regent Theatre, a cultural and heritage icon in Brisbane, Australia is in danger of being altered into a corporate enclave with little public access, after 80 yeas of continuous service as a picture palace and cinema complex.

The magnificent gothic foyer and grand entrance lobby from 1929 remain intact and are heritage protected. The later rebuilt cinemas behind are not, even though they contain heritage-style original plaster decorations and artefacts.

On September 10, 2008 the Queensland government announced that the Regent cinema complex will be redeveloped into one 300-seat multiuse cinema and two tiny 60 seat cinemas, a loss of around 1000 seats from what is currently there. These will open only on weekends and public holidays.
Several television and cinema industry offices will also be established there, but it would be assumed they would go into already built offices in the Regent Building above the grand entrance lobby.

The Brisbane International Film Festival will now have to find a large enough venue elsewhere for their festival gala events after many years at the Regent.

Almost no new development plans or technical details have been released to date, leaving a concerned public in the dark as to the finer details etc. The original design called for total demolition of the cinemas, to be replaced by a car park and office tower rear entrance. This has been altered due to recent public outcry… but to what exactly?

Please visit the Save the Regent website (link below) for the very latest on this important development.

Send an email to those who have a say in this development and voice your concerns directly to them. Time is running out!

Save the Regent Group
Sept. 17, 2008.

brizregent on June 8, 2009 at 10:41 pm

A new bid has been launched to save Brisbane’s historic Regent Theatre from demolition.

A member of the Save the Regent Group has lodged an application to have the theatre’s Showcase cinema and bar area Heritage listed. The application was advertised for public submissions in the Courier-Mail of June 5, 2009.

Currently only the foyer of the building is protected, and the development application recently approved by the Brisbane City Council would see everything beyond the building’s grand marble stairase demolished to make way for a 40-storey office tower.

Backed by two petitions to Parliament, attracting thousands of signatures, and Facebook groups with combined membership totalling nearly 5000 people, the STR Group has been fighting to protect as much of the orignal 1929 Regent as possible since the development plans were made public last February.

The Heritage-listing application, lodged by STR committee member Brent James, argues that the Showcase Cinema includes plasterwork and other heritage features from the original 1929 Regent, and that the bar area is the original theatre mezzanine relocated downstairs.

“While others have argued that nothing other than the foyer is worth saving, we have always said that the essence of the Regent – Brisbane’s last remaining Hollywood picture palace – is more than that,” STR spokesman Brett Debritz said.

“It is true that the original auditorium had a somewhat unsympathetic makeover about 30 years ago, but much of the 1929 theatre’s fixtures and fittings was relocated into the showcase cinema and it is of immense heritage value to the people of Brisbane. We contend that the mezzanine and the Showcase Cinema should be protected by law, and urge people to support this application.

“We encourage people who care about our city’s heritage to respond to the advertisement in today’s paper and lodge their support for the listing of the Showcase and the old mezzanine.

“Please, follow the instructions in the advertisement to have your say before it’s too late. In the coming days, there will be more details on our website,, and on the Save the Regent Facebook Group.”

brizregent on July 23, 2009 at 10:42 pm

Please note that the Regent Theatre short history web page has moved to: View link
Comments and additions are welcome.

Remember to keep up to date with the Regent’s development plans. This will be the last BIFF( in the Showcase Cinema at the Regent, as it is to be demolished under development plans now passed by city council. See: for more details.

brizregent on May 3, 2010 at 8:58 pm

The above link to the history of the Regent has been updated.
It now includes information on the 1980-2008 Regent Cineplex.

Go to: View link

Visit also: for the latest developments on the Regent’s future.

brizregent on June 14, 2010 at 10:41 pm

Yesterday 14 June 2010 the Brisbane Regent closed for good as a cinema complex. Final film in the beautiful Showcase Cinema was Casablanca. Full story and pics here:
View link

See also

bartman1 on June 16, 2010 at 4:30 am

Almost but not quite…

Just for the record – other comments on the net are correct. Titanic actually was the final film to stop rolling, due to its longer running time and its late start of 30mins. [Don’t know how that happened:) ] Audiences for Casablanca and Sex and the City actually had exited the building whilst Titanic completed its final voyage at The Regent.

paulsp on September 16, 2010 at 6:26 am

I agree with the above comment – the Brisbane REGENT was wrecked when the auditorium was destroyed, the finest in Australia and the equal to the best in the U.S.A. apart from just a few very special places, e.g. Capitol/New York, Fox/San Francisco.
Thankfully the Sydney State and Capitol and Melbourne Regent remain basically intact but Brisbane has never respected its past, hence most of it is now gone.

brizregent on June 30, 2011 at 10:52 pm

On Wednesday June 29 2011 a public notice appeared in the Brisbane “Courier Mail” newspaper indicating that work on the demolition of the Regent Theatre cinema box (containing the currently closed 4 cinemas) is about to commence. A 37-story office tower will replace the theatre with the Regent’s entrance lobby and Gothic foyer forming its entrance off Queen Street.

At loss is the unique Showcase Cinema and its inner bar and vestibule with its 1929 reused plaster décor. Attempts to have these areas heritage listed failed and it appears that it will be torn down with only a fragment or two saved for an “interpretive display” in the new development. Also being demolished is the magnificent red brick 1929 Regent Façade on Elizabeth Street – part of the streetscape for over 82 years.

This is a sad day for the many thousands of Regent Theatre supporters who rallied behind the Save the Regent campaign group since 2008 to try to keep the cinema complex operating or even renewed as a live theatre. For more on the tragic loss go to

Ross Melnick
Ross Melnick on July 1, 2011 at 11:06 am

It pains me to do this, but I’m changing this theater to demolished…

brizregent on September 11, 2014 at 11:55 pm

A new book on the Regent Theatre, Brisbane has just been published. Due out mid-October 2014, it covers everything from the 1927 conception up to the demolition in 2012. More details at:

or email:

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