Regal Theatre

474 Hay Street,
Subiaco,
Perth, WA 6008

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Located in the Subiaco district of Perth. It was built on the site of the Coliseum Picture Gardens which had opened in the 1920’s. The Regal Theatre opened on the 27th April, 1938 with a topical film "Love Under Fire" set during the Spanish Civil War, which was raging at the time. The supporting film was "Shall We Dance" with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.

Designed by well known architect William G. Bennett, out of the office of William T. Leighton of Baxter-Cox & Leighton, the exterior design of the Regal Theatre is unique in Western Australia. The circular tower, which is the building’s most prominent feature, gives cognisance to the corner site and establishes a pleasing relationship with the building on the opposite side. Hence the Regal Theatre is the only cinema still standing in Western Australia which opens onto an intersection. Because of the concern with symmetry, the facade facing Rokeby Road has a large area of false walling, including false windows, simply to balance the volume of the bio box on the opposidte side. The central axis of the facade and foyer is situated on a diagonal, whereas the auditorium runs parallel to Rokeby Road, with an unequal face to each street. The two-tiered half-cylindrical tower features aspects of horizontal and vertical detailing, which is accented with ribbed bands supporting the verticality of the stepped "banner" holding the flashing neon sign. This lettering has changed in the intervening years.

In 1946 the Regal Theatre was sold to Clarence ‘Paddy’ Baker, whose family have been associations with the site since the Coliseum Picture Gardens days. No history of the building would be complete without a mention of the veteran picture showman who had been associated with the industry since childhood. Paddy ran the Regal Theatre until he died in 1986, leaving his beloved theatre to the people of Western Australia.

Since 1987, it has been used as a live theatre. The Regal Theatre is listed with the National Trust and with the Australian Heritage Commission.

Contributed by Mark Nicol

Recent comments (view all 3 comments)

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on June 19, 2010 at 6:12 pm

The Regal Theatre photographed in 2005:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/dct66/3709727266/
Night-time view in 2007:
View link
A nice summertime photograph, taken in December 2007:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/aang14/2125857721/

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on June 20, 2010 at 3:12 am

Thanks Ken.Beautiful movie theatre.

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