20-30 Bourke Street,
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Originally a live theatre it opened on 6 April 1912 as the National Ampitheatre. Architect Henry E. White redesigned the interior in 1916 with the inclusion of six boxes on either side of the proscenium and seating in orchestra stalls, dress circle and upper circle, and from 1916 it was known as the Palace Theatre.
Further alterations were carried out in 1934 after which it was known as the Apollo Theatre. MGM bought the theater in 1940 and for the next thirty years operated as a cinema, and its name was changed again to the St. James Theatre.
MGM renamed it the Metro Theatre in 1952, not to be confused with the Metro Collins Street. Among the films screened during the 1950’s and 1960’s were “Gigi”, “North by Northwest”, “The Parent Trap”, “Mutiny on the Bounty”, “Ben Hur”, “Mary Poppins” and “Doctor Zhivago”. The latter film ran for over two years.
MGM sold the theater and the last MGM film screened was “Kelly’s Heroes” in October 1970. During the next few years it returned to live theatre which included a 39 week season of the musical “Hair” in 1971-72. It re-opened as the Palace Theatre in 1974 and once again showed films.
The church group known as the Revival Centre bought the theater in 1980 and then it was sold again in the late-1980’s and since 1987 it operated as the Metro nightclub.
In late-2007, the theatre was bought by the operators of the Palace Entertainment Complex previously located in St. Kilda. They undertook major renovations to restore many of the building’s original period features. The theatre reverted back to the name Palace Theatre, which it has been known as twice before in it long history. The Palace Theatre operated as a live music concert venue until it was closed in 2014. Plans for demolition were refused, and the possibility is now to be converted into retail use.
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