Regal Theatre

474 Hay Street,
Subiaco, WA 6008

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Regal Theatre - Perth

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Located in the Subiaco district of Perth. It was built on the site of the Coliseum Theatre and Picture Gardens which had opened in December 1916. 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.

Soon after opening, the Regal Picture Gardens was opened across the road at the corner of Rokeby Road and Hay Street. The Regal Picture Gardens had 750 seats. 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.

The Regal Picture Gardens was closed in 1971 and was demolished in 1973 to build shops on the site. Since 1987, the Regal Theatre 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 7 comments)

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

The Regal Theatre photographed in 2005:
Night-time view in 2007:
View link
A nice summertime photograph, taken in December 2007:

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on June 19, 2010 at 9:12 pm

Thanks Ken.Beautiful movie theatre.

davidcoppock on July 22, 2015 at 2:01 am

The Coliseum Theatre and Gardens opened in December 1916,and demolished(mid 1930’s) to make for the Regal theatre. The Regal Theatre also had a picture gardens(Regal Picture Gardens) across the road on the North-west corner of Rokeby Road and Hay Street(seating 750) opened soon after the Regal Theatre opened. The Regal Picture Gardens closed in 1971 and demolished in 1973 and replaced with shops. The Regal Theatre has 1200 seats.

barryinperth on April 12, 2016 at 5:05 am

Link to news clip on Regal Theatre refurbishment:

davidcoppock on April 17, 2016 at 3:42 am

There is information and photos about the Regal Theatre and the other cinemas/theatres, picture gardens and drive-ins' that Paddy Baker(1898-11/8/1988) ran in Western Australia in the book “Paddy baker Picture Show Man(Max d. Bell).

davidcoppock on May 4, 2016 at 2:54 am

Since the Regal Theatre became a live theatre, the film screenings stopped, except for when they showed some some surfing and snow skiing films, and “The Sound of Music singalong”(1990’s an/or 2000’s?).

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