Grand Theatre

6 Paisley Street,
Melbourne, VIC 3011

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Grand Theatre

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Located in the Footscray district of Melbourne. Built on the site of the Church of Christ, the Grand Theatre was opened as a cinema on 18th November 1911. Seating was provided for 2,000 in stalls and balcony levels. Part of the opening programme was a film of the demolition of the Church of Christ and preparation work on the site for the new cinema. The auditorium had a sliding roof for ventilation in hot weather.

The Grand Theatre was closed during the Depression in 1931, and was refurbished in 1935, re-opening in 1936 as the New Grand Theatre by Eric Yeomans. New decorative plasterwork had been installed inside the auditorium, lit with special lighting effects and gold coloured screen curtains. By the late-1950’s it was the Grand Theatre again.

In later years, the balcony was extended forward to the proscenium to create a 500-seat cinema in the upstairs area, a new entrance made from the former balcony exit stairway. The former entrance foyer and stalls seating areas were converted into retail use. The Grand Cinema closed on 8th April 1987 with Meryl Streep in “Heartburn”. It was the last cinema to operate in Footscray. It was converted into the Fiesta Bingo Club in the former upstairs level, and the facade was covered with metal sheeting.

The bingo club was closed in the mid-2000’s, and the retail use became storage. I believe the building is now totally unused.

Contributed by Ken Roe
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