Prince Edward Theatre

36-42 Castlereagh Street,
Sydney, NSW 2000

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Prince Edward Theatre

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The Prince Edward Theatre opened on 22nd November 1924 with the silent version of Cecil B. DeMille’s “The Ten Commandments”, which ran for 36 weeks. It was designed by the architectural firm Robertson and Marks, with marble staircases, a fountain, and a 16 foot crystal chandelier in the dome in the auditorium. The theatre had a Wurlitzer 2Manual/10Ranks organ which was opened by American organist Eddie Horton, who had come over from the California Theatre, San Francisco, California. There was a full orchestra, the Prince Edward Concert Orchestra, initially conducted by American conductor Will Prior, from Grauman’s Metropolitan Theatre, Los Angeles, California. Stage presentation Prologues were also featured as part of the programme in the early years.

Bob Hope attended the opening of his film “The Seven Little Foys” in June 1955, which included an appearance on the stage. Almost every film screened at the Prince Edward Theatre was from the Paramount Studios.

It closed on 4 December 1965 with a re-presentation of “War and Peace, starring Audrey Hepburn. It was later demolished.

Contributed by Graeme McBain

Recent comments (view all 26 comments)

ColP on August 26, 2013 at 12:00 am

Around 1945 – 1947 my mum took me to see my Grandfather, Alfred O'Brien who was the band leader, and my mum’s dad, at the Prince Edward. I was 5 to 7 years old at the time. I guess we saw a movie as well, but whatever it was, I cannot recall. The theatre was amazing to me at that age, with it’s marble circular staircase and the giant chandelier. And when grandpa came into view with the band playing on the elevator floor in front of the stage, I was very excited. I believe that Alfred O'Brien was one of the founding members of the Musician’s Union of Australia, and he was also a very good bike rider. He won a race called the Sydney 1000.Don’t know the year. Believe the prize was a thousand pounds? Would love to hear from anyone who may have known Alfred O'Brien at the Prince Edward.

Glee on March 27, 2014 at 10:56 pm

I am hoping to find any one that has photo’s from 1958 to 1960. I was Usherette, Stand girl,(Dressed in white ball gown Tiara etc) & Cashier. I have lost all my photo’s of the girls & would dearly love to see them again & any with myself in them. Along time ago but wonderful memories. Glee (Glennis)

johngleeson on May 30, 2014 at 3:01 pm

VISTAVISION Some clarity from the Widescreen Museum. Curator Martin Hart wrote “the first concept of VistaVision called for standard 35mm prints”. Some films were shown in 8 perf horizontal mode in limited runs. Paramount’s preferred ratio was 1.66:1 but it was possible to make 35mm 4 perf anamorphic prints of 2.00:1 however the vast majority were 35mm prints. Hart says with Technicolor dye prints made from the large Eastman neg, VistaVision provided an extremely sharp image with beautifully saturated colors. Ken is correct about only 35mm prints shown in Sydney, beginning with White Christmas.

Elzbet on April 26, 2015 at 8:58 pm

No mention seems to be made about the wonderful arcade under The Prince Edward Theatre. I can remember descending steps from Elizabeth Street, passing through a, beautifully cool in summer, arcade which took me out into Castlereagh Street. Does anyone else remember that arcade? Why are there no photos of it?


Jennifergayle on December 27, 2015 at 12:23 am

Perhaps it’s Christmas that has caused the reflection but thought of my mother’s fall because of the water splashing onto the surrounding floor and the ensuing legal challenge. Which she lost. Wouldn’t have happened in today’s world. (Note the fountain’s not overflowing to the surrounds in the pic.)

npalmer on May 27, 2016 at 11:29 pm

In the mid 80’s a book was published called ‘A Pictorial History of Sydney’s Prince Edward Theatre Beautiful’ by Barry Sharp. Probably long out of print but the ISBN number as printed in the book is 0 9594252 2 5.

rivest266 on July 14, 2016 at 10:54 am

This opened on November 22nd, 1924. Its grand opening ad can be found in the photo section for this cinema.

davidcoppock on February 9, 2017 at 1:07 am

“How did they get the plane inside the theatre?”

Robzak on March 31, 2017 at 8:32 pm

This was also the theatre in which Errol Flynn’s first film, “In The Wake Of The Bounty,” premiered on March 13, 1933.

itinerama on April 29, 2017 at 4:21 am

No Australian cinema ever installed Vista-Vision. VV was limited only to a few cinemas in the USA and one in London. Some U.K. and Australian cinemas did have a larger screen and a different lens to improve the projected image but the film was always 35mm not Vista-Vision. False advertising re films being in Vista -Vision (when they weren’t) was common in the fifties in the U.K.,Australia and where I worked in New Zealand and probably elsewhere as well. Anyone who said that V.V. was shown in Australia is wrong and probably suffering from dementia.

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