Century Theatre

586 George Street,
Sydney, NSW 2000

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Century Theatre

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Sydney’s Century Theatre was converted from the much larger Crystal Palace Theatre which dated from 1912. The depression was to see the theatre close down in 1932. After years of closure, a new cinema was built inside the shell. The new cinema was opened on 4th March 1938 and was called Hoyts Century Theatre. So named as the opening coincided with the Sesqui-Centenary celebrations being held in Sydney that year.

The Century Theatre was a first run movie house and was converted to 70mm projection in 1966 for the season of “My Fair Lady”, but the small 30ft curved screen did not do justice to big 70mm blockbusters, other than for the sound and very sharp image.

The theatre once had a nice Art Deco ambience with many features picked out in different colours. The 1966 re-modelling with two tones of purple and cream in the auditorium plus mauve contour curtain changed this atmosphere somewhat. The Century Theatre was vacated by Hoyts in 1977 and was used by another company until closed completely in 1979.

It was converted to an amusment arcade, retaining all of its cinematic features. It was finally demolished in 1983.

Contributed by Ian Hanson

Recent comments (view all 6 comments)

muggo
muggo on September 28, 2004 at 8:45 am

does anybody know anything about the century theatre at broadmeadow in newcastle new south wales australia it was demolished after the earthquake I would love any info or floorplans

les
les on November 2, 2005 at 12:41 am

Muggo, check your Newcastle City Library for a copy of “Front Stalls or Back: A History of the Newcastle Theatres” by Les Tod (me) and Kevin Cork. Or a 2nd hand bookshop. It covers all the theatres in Newcastle city and suburbs.

Ianinsydney
Ianinsydney on April 23, 2010 at 2:07 am

Projection equipment in the Century Theatre was Cinemeccanica Victoria 8 35/70mm with Ascraft arcs. The plant was installed for the Sydney season of “MY FAIR LADY” in 1965. However,the long narrow auditorium did not really enhance the 70mm movies. The screen was only 36ft wide. Xebex zenon lamphouse replaced the ashcraft in 1974.

Projectors sold to Campbelltown Dumaresque Street twin in 1980.

Ianinsydney
Ianinsydney on April 23, 2010 at 2:12 am

The Century theatre was altered for cinemascope in 1954. There was a slight increase in widening the proscenium as a result. In 1938,the theatre posessed an early electroninc Hammond organ. The console was located left side of the stage in a niche column that portuded out in front of the prosecnium. It was demolished in 1954,no one knows what became of the organ. Stanfield Holiday appeared there for the opening,follwed by Penn Hughes.

azathoth101
azathoth101 on May 14, 2012 at 1:35 am

Hey Ian, do you have any info on the Star at Bondi Junction? Thanks!

itsjohn
itsjohn on February 5, 2013 at 2:16 pm

I remember the last movie I ever saw featured on the marquee here was the surf title Summer City, starring a very young Mel Gibson. Late 1977 / early 1978. The Arcade next door had the soundtrack specialists Ava and Susans for years as well.

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