St. James Theatre

77-87 Courtney Place,
Wellington 6141

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Opened as the His Majesty’s Theatre in 1912, it was built for vaudeville and later films were introduced. At the time, it was the largest theatre in Australasia with 2,355 seats. Designed in a splendid Edwardian Baroque style by noted theatre architect Henry Eli White, seating was provided in orchestra, dress circle and balcony levels. There are six boxes on each side of the proscenium.

It was re-named St. James Theatre when it went over to full time cinema use when talkies were introduced. Operated from 1945 by Kerridge-Odeon, it was faced with demolition in the 1980’s. The theatre was saved and purchased by the city council through a charitable trust.

A full restoration was carried out in 1998, and the building is recognised by New Zealand Historic Places Trust as a Category 1 building.

Contributed by Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 5 comments)

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on August 21, 2010 at 8:02 am

Thanks Ken for a great picture.

Mark747
Mark747 on August 27, 2010 at 1:00 pm

Nice 1930’s photo of the auditorium taken from the “gods"
View link

CSWalczak
CSWalczak on August 27, 2010 at 2:41 pm

Unfortunately, the link won’t work now because the New Zealand National Library uses one of those systems that generates only temporary URLs that expire a few minutes later. You can see the picture if you enter “St. James Theatre” in the box under “Cross-Collection Search” here: http://www.natlib.govt.nz/about-us/search-home The results will bring up a a thumbnail; clicking on will expand it.

CSWalczak
CSWalczak on August 27, 2010 at 2:48 pm

Here’s a contemporary view: http://tiny.cc/m1j1w

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