Hoyts Broadway Theatre

734 Burke Road,
Melbourne, VIC 3124

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Hoyts Broadway Theatre

Located in the west Melbourne district of Camberwell. Our Theatre was opened on June 29, 1921 with Geraldine Farrer in “The World and the Woman”. It was designed by Melbourne based architect Christopher A. Cowper (later to form architectural firm Cowper, Murphy & Appleford) in a French Renaissance/Adam style and had 1,800 seats, with 670 in the orchestra and 850 in the balcony. In 1926 it was taken over by Hoyts Theatres and re-named Broadway Theatre. In 1938 it was remodeled in an Art Deco style. It was closed on 28th April 1979.

It was eventually demolished and shops have been built on the site.

Contributed by Ken Roe, Greg Lynch

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film
film on December 26, 2018 at 1:38 am

Table Talk Newspaper (Melbourne, Vic ) Thu 7, Jul 1921 – Printed on Page 44 – “OUR THEATRE”. On the Crest of Camberwell Hill. Opened June 29, 1921 – The name of the new motion picture theatre at Camberwell, is expressive. (“OUR THEATRE”) It has been built by a company largely composed of local shareholders. The building which stands in Burke-road, Camberwell, just above the railway station. The name Boroondara, which formerly applied to the whole district, signified “out of the darkness into the light,” and there was a feeling in local circles that Camberwell had not emerged sufficiently out of the darkness. Now so far as the picture industry is concerned it is in a flood of light, and from its elevation “Our Theatre” is a conspicuous feature for a long distance around. The directors of the company are Messrs. \V. J. P. Davies (chairman), J.R. Drake, F. F. Fitzroy, and George Veal, the appointed manager being Mr. H. H. Heath. The task of preparing designs was entrusted to Mr. Chris. A. Cowper, architect, of Chancery House, Melbourne, that finally selected being of the French Renaissance period, with a little of the Adams period introduced to give life and lightness to the general effect.

The facade is splendidly illuminated with flood lights. The entrance hall gives direct access to the auditorium on either side of the operator’s cabin. At either end of the hall stairways run up to the foyer—which in this instance will be known as “our cabaret.” This extends the whole width of the building and is handsomely finished and furnished, with large arched windows and lit at night by shaded lights. It possesses a refreshment buffet and a piano, for it is to be used for dancing purposes when the pictures are finished of an evening. Mr. Frusher (formerly a lieutenant in the A.I.F.) is the lessee. Entrance to the balcony is gained through the foyer, and the interior of the building impresses one at once. There is a strong suggestion of the dramatic thea tre in the design. The balcony seats 850 persons and is brought well over the arena below, so that it appears exceptionally close to the stage. It is very roomy and comfortably seated with up-holstered tip-up seats. Altogether there is sitting accommodation for 1800 people in the theatre. The arched ceiling is very fine and is lit by six Perfecta electric lights of 4000 candle power each. The ornate mouldings of the front of the balcony have been carried around the interior walls, forming a waist-line, and the windows above are curtained and decorated so as to give the effect of stage boxes, which is further heightened by the presence of window boxes containing poppies and chrysanthemums, which give a note of color when illuminated by the electric light. Flanking the stage are two large trellis screens for ventilation purposes. The air is drawn from the rear and sprayed through the trellised vents, being ex tracted from above and below the balcony so that there is always a gentle but unobtrusive current of air in the theatre, the method being known ns the “whirl” system, installed by Messrs. Long and Denton. The proscenium, the electrical screen and lighting effects associated with it, which was installed by the Faulkesley Electric Co., is one of the latest innovations in picture theatres. The scene represented is one typical of Australian life, with cultivated farmland, mountain and bush. At the touch of a button in the manager’s office the back picture slides back on either side, disclosing the white curtain, the roadside fences fold over the orchestra, and at the same time the lights in the house are gradually dimmed—like the setting of the sun—so that the audience is not plunged into sudden darkness or subjected to eyestrain when the process Is reversed.

The contractor for the whole building was Mr. George Curry, of Auburn, the total cost being about £30,000. Our Theatre was thrown open for inspection on Tuesday evening to the share holders and invited guests, when there was a large gathering, the balcony being full to overflowing. The theatre was opened to the public on Wednesday evening, June 29, an excellent orchestra, under Mr. C. Taylor, providing the overture and instrumental music. Fox’s world gazette, Louise Lovely in “While the Devil Laughs,” “The World and the Woman,” featuring Geraldine Farrar, and the Sunshine comedy, “Pals and Petticoats,” were the principal items in the program.

NOTE: “The World and Its Woman” is a 1919 American silent drama film produced and distributed by Goldwyn Pictures and directed by Frank Lloyd. Opera singer Geraldine Farrar and her husband Lou Tellegen star. – Contributed by Greg Lynch –

film
film on January 6, 2019 at 2:45 am

Management (Hoyts) of the Broadway Theatre Camberwell announced on Feb 20, 1930 that the theatre will close for the installation of Talkies, and then re-open on Feb 24 with “The Follies” & Talkie shorts. – Reference “Table Talk” Newspaper – Thurs Feb 20, 1924 … Comment : Ken Lemmon was one of the projectionist’s who worked in The Broadway Bio Box during the introduction of the latest talkie technology – Contributed by Greg Lynch –

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