Ambassadors Theatre

Hay Street,
Perth, WA 6000

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barryinperth on December 27, 2014 at 1:56 am

Since my last post, Perth’s CBD has become ‘cinema-less’. The Piccadilly Theatre closed its doors late in 2013, and was briefly used as a live performance venue for the hugely successful FRINGE WORLD Festival early in 2014. It has been ‘dark’ since. Ironically, the only ‘cinema’ now operating in the city is the pop-up Rooftop Movies on the top floor of a City of Perth carpark. It’s operated by Artrage, the parent body of FRINGE WORLD, and screens classic and recent releases from November through to March.

barryinperth on September 15, 2013 at 3:32 am

It’s hard to believe it’s now over 40 years since Perth’s mighty AMBASSADORS was demolished. Had it been preserved, it could well have become Perth’s long-awaited lyric theatre, hosting the big touring musicals. Instead, these go to a barn at the Crown Casino. But we chose to destroy it. As a society we had myopia – and, regrettably, greed for the fast buck. Not much has changed.

3D70 on July 30, 2011 at 7:25 am

Greg Lynch said… For those who believe that theatres have souls I mourn the destruction and passing of the Ambassadors. As a youngster while working for 20th Century Fox, every Thursday I delivered the latest Movietone News-reel to Hoyts Ambassadors Theatre, then crossing opposite with a news-reel change to the wonderful Art Deco flagship known as the Hoyts Plaza Theatre. It was in the front stalls of the Ambassadors Theatre during 1954 that I first experienced Cinemascope & Sterophonic sound with the screening of “The Robe”. and now after a lifetime of working in the Motion Picture Industry I look back with warm appreciation to the Golden Era and know we have lost something very special with the passing of our wonderful Picture Palaces..Greg Lynch

barryinperth on June 28, 2011 at 1:13 am

The demise of Perth’s Ambassadors was regrettably a ‘landmark’ moment in the ‘progressive’ destruction of Perth’s architectural heritage that commenced in the late 1960s and continued well into the 1980s.

Very few of Perth’s citizens are aware today of the lost vibrancy of the central block of Hay Street due to the loss of its cinemas. This was before before it became a pedestrian mall, and this compact 180-metre stretch was, in the late 1960s/early 1970s, home to six cinemas – three on the north side (Piccadilly, Plaza, Savoy) and three on the south (Capri, Royal, Ambassadors). At around 10.30pm each evening, thousands of cinema goers would exit these cinemas, crowd the pavements and create a real sense that this was the true hub of entertainment in Western Australia’s capital.

In addition, nearby on William, Barrack and Murray Streets, cinema goers were exiting the Metro, Liberty and Grand theatres respectively. These nine cinemas collectively defined Perth after dark. Today, just one of these cinemas survives as an operating concern – The Piccadilly on Hay Street.

The loss of our Central Business District cinemas has robbed Perth of much of its vibrancy. And today, all of the CBD multi-screen complexes established from the mid-70s have also gone. It’s a sad reflection of today’s era where suburban multiplexes dominate, robbing the central city of what was once a vital component of its economic and social fabric.

barryinperth on July 25, 2005 at 8:23 pm

Perth’s Ambassadors was one of three Eberson-inspired atmospheric picture palaces built by Australia’s Union Theatres Ltd in the late 1920s, the other two being Sydney’s Capitol (opened 7 April 1928) and Melbourne’s State (opened 23 February 1929). The architectural theme of The Ambassadors was that of a ‘Florentine renaissance garden’, complete with stuffed pigeons and peacocks imported from Durban in South Africa. A faithful replica of the ‘Bridge of Sighs’ was one of many artistic flourishes that made The Ambassadors a flamboyant experience for patrons.

I didn’t experience The Ambassadors until the late 1960s, by which time it had been long-stripped of most of its lavish decoration and statuary (by the Hoyts theatre chain which took it over c.1938). However, it was still a wonderfully atmospheric environment. One of the most poignant photographs depicting the demise of a picture palace was taken in 1972 during the early stages of The Ambassadors' demolition. Taken from the rear of the dress circle, a dramatic shaft of sunlight dissects the auditorium. This and other photographs of The Ambassadors can be found at:
View link

Barry in Perth

atmos on November 23, 2004 at 1:45 am

This theatre was called the Ambassadors Theatre,with the s,which I,m sure I put on the contribution.The sign on the exterior also said Ambassadors'.