Hoyts Town Theatre

303-305 Pitt Street,
Sydney, NSW 2001

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Hoyts Town Theatre

Opened in July 1912 as the American Picture Palace. In August 1919 it was renamed Shell Theatre. In mid-1926 it was re-named Arcadia Theatre and on 10th August 1935 it became the Cameo Theatre. On the 15th February 1946 it was re-named Esquire Theatre, operated by Hoyts Theatres. This was the smallest of Hoyts city theatres. It became Hoyts Town Theatre in 1965. Programming was mostly 20th Century Fox second string films. Big star westerns that weren’t expected to do well were booked - films like “Broken Lance”, “Warlock”, “Track of the Cat”, and oddball films like “Modesty Blaise”.

Like the nearby Palace Theatre the Hoyts Town Theatre had a small CinemaScope screen that didn’t do justice to outdoor sagas. As the Hoyts Town Theatre it tried to go upscale with some foreign titles that would have gone to the Paris Theatre, now a home for blockbusters.

In the final years it ran X-Rated fare but closed around 1980 and was demolished for a skyscraper with offices and a shopping arcade.

Contributed by john gleeson

Recent comments (view all 4 comments)

impalax327
impalax327 on April 17, 2016 at 1:34 am

A lasting pubescent memory of this theatre was during it’s final years. I think it must’ve been showing some of Russ Meyer’s work and adorned on the facade were a massive pair of fiberglass/ paper mache breasts, somewhere around 6 feet high. I regret not paying more attention now!

davidcoppock
davidcoppock on October 4, 2020 at 8:38 pm

Opened in circa 1912. Closed in circa 1980.

davidcoppock
davidcoppock on October 30, 2020 at 4:29 am

May have originally been a temperance hall? Named American Picture Palace opening in july 1912. Renamed Shell Theatre in august 1919. Name changed to Arcadia Theatre in mid 1926. Renamed Cameo Theatre on 10/8/1935. Renamed Esquire Theatre on 15/2/1946 with “This happy breed”. Renamed Hoyts Town Theatre in 1965.

curmudgeon
curmudgeon on November 1, 2020 at 8:13 am

Worked front-of-house here during the final years under Hoyts. A very pleasant art-deco cinema, albeit very narrow and not particularly suited to scope ratio. Did bumper business with “Case Of The Smiling Stiffs” and “The Adventures Of A Driving Instructor/Window Washer/Taxi Driver” series. It remained open under Hoyts management for a few months after the 7 screen Entertainment Centre opened and I was often sent round to that new venue to help out with their full houses while the Town struggled on with dwindling audiences.

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