191 Collins Street,
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Designed by Cedric Ballantyne and Associates, it was originally built under the Regent Theatre for use as a cabaret/ballroom. A permit for such use was not granted and Hoyt’s then turned it into a single level cinema. It opened on 10th May 1929 with the movie, “Alias Jimmy Valentine” starring William Haines.
The theatre was closed for around six months after being damaged by the fire which destroyed the Regent Theatre in April 1945. The capacity was reduced to 865 in 1958 for the installation of Cinerama. “How the West was Won” was the longest running film in the Plaza Theatre with 101 weeks in 1963-4.
The cinema closed on 4 November 1970 with “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” and some time later was practically destroyed by the Melbourne City Council with shops and a fountain located in the former auditorium. The ceiling of the auditorium and a false window above the entrance to the auditorium are the only original pieces left.
The Plaza Theatre was restored to its original pre-Cinemrama appearance and together the restoration of the Regent Theatre, solely from photographs.
The Plaza re-opened in August 1996 and is now known as the Plaza Ballroom and used for various functions such as weddings, fashion parades, opening night parties etc. It is operated by Marriner Theatres.
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