167 Queen Street,
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The newest addition to the Hoyts Theatres chain was the Brisbane Regent Theatre, which opened on November 8, 1929. 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 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, orchestra pit and WurliTzer organ. The premiere entertainment program featured ‘gorgeous stage spectacles’. The movies included the first Fox talkie revue “Fox Movietone Follies of 1929”. Music from classical to jazz was provided by the Regent’s Grand Concert Orchestra. Until 1978 when renovations were made, an auditorium existed which had a capacity for 2,600.
Sadly, the magnificent auditorium was demolished and was replaced by a four-screen cinema complex of which Cinema One was decorated similarly to the earlier theme. The original 1929-era front of house and main foyers 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 14th June 2010 with “Titanic”, “Casablanca” and “Sex in the City” being three of 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.
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