Barclay Theatre

George Street,
Sydney, NSW 2000

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Barclay Theatre

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Located in the centre of Sydney in the Haymarket district on George Street almost at the corner of Hay Street. Operated variously by Hoyts and Greater Union chains. The Haymarket Theatre was opened on 29th April, 1916. In September 1933, Great Union converted it into an indoor golf course. It reverted back to cinema use when it was re-named the Civic Theatre in October 1935, specialzing in only Australian made films and opening with “The Squatters Daughter”. In 1938, Greater Union began to operate it as a live theatre, but it suffered from the Haymarket location which was not the place for a classy theatre. Every now and then live shows were booked such as the Harlem Blackbirds and the Gypsy Rose Lee Show.

It ran double bills western and horror films, much like the Lyric Theatre nearby. As the Palladium Theatre it tried live drama with the “Caine Mutiny Courtmartial” with Lloyd Nolan and Ken Wayne.

Greater Union had no theatre suitable for 70mm, so the theater was given false interior walls which were draped and a new name, the Barclay Theatre, said to be the maiden name of GU chief Sir Norman Rydge.

The Barclay Theatre opened in December 1962 with a huge hit, “The Guns of Navarone” and did well with “Lawrence of Arabia”.

As Haymarket flourished the theatre was doomed along with all the other George Street theatres and was demolished.

Contributed by john gleeson

Recent comments (view all 6 comments)

gregpunch
gregpunch on January 23, 2013 at 10:59 pm

The Barclay continued to run films into the 1980s. One of the last was a reissue of ‘Gone With The Wind’. It was looking very tired in its last few years. Around 1984 it closed for good when the Greater Union Orgainization built a new multiplex a few blocks up the road on the site of the former Rapallo and Paramount theatres.

itsjohn
itsjohn on February 5, 2013 at 6:13 am

I remember seeing a double feature of Jaws and Jaws 2 at this beautiful cinema in September 1981. It had such lush blue/purple interiors and I always felt it was out of place in this more run down end of town. I also remember seeing The Great Waldo Pepper here in 1975. Good memories.

johngleeson
johngleeson on June 20, 2013 at 7:02 am

The Barclay was named for Sir Norman B. Rydge’s wife whose maiden name was Barclay.
Seating was reduced to 950 after the new shell was erected in 1962.

darrenparlett
darrenparlett on August 5, 2013 at 6:01 pm

Remember seeing a double bill of COMA plus THE ONE & THE ONLY with my sister here and THE WIZ with Aunt Muriel

johngleeson
johngleeson on November 17, 2013 at 11:33 am

Added to Photos: a shot of Nat King Cole who was appearing in the Harlem Blackbirds show although he got no billing on the front of house. Several cast members were photographed taking time off at various locales like clubs and the children’s hospital.

johnph
johnph on June 26, 2014 at 6:58 pm

WHat a top projection room to work in fully soundproofed .A rare setup with a pair of canica vic 8:s and one Kalee made presentation easy if running a70mm print with 35mm ads & trailers.I recall a Saturday dayshift the dimmer for main house lights smoked up ,the only temp fix while show was on was to get afew wire coathangers from the locker room[yes there was a change room probably the old generator before referb &fitting rectfiers]and bridge the blown sections.TRY DOING THAT TO YOUR SOLID STATE AUTOMATED DIMMER,arh those were the days

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