Summer Hill Theatre

1 Sloane Street,
Sydney, NSW 2130

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Hoyts Theatres, Western Suburbs Cinemas Ltd.

Architects: Emil Lawrence Sodersten

Styles: Spanish Baroque

Previous Names: Grosvenor Theatre

Nearby Theaters

Summer Hill Theatre

Located in the western Sydney suburb of Summer Hill. The Summer Hill Theatre opened on 29th October 1930. Designed in a magnificent Spanish Baroque style by architect Emile Sodersten. The facade looked like the ornately carved stern of a 17th Century Spanish galleon. Inside the 2,043-seat auditorium, decorated by interior designer Arnold Zimmerman, the proscenium and side walls contained false boxes on each side. There were large urns, and gargoyles, to enhance the atmosphere of the building. In the centre of the ceiling was a large saucer dome, which had a huge chandelier hanging from its centre.

Taken over by Western Suburbs Cinemas chain in 1939, it was refurbished, again to the designs of Arnold Zimmerman, and the seating capacity was reduced to 1,992. The Summer Hill Theatre had a ‘Gala Re-opening’ on 5th August 1939, with Cary Grant in "Gunga Din" and "Four Girls In White".

The Summer Hill Theatre was closed on 27th June 1959 with Kenneth Moore in "The Sheriff of Fractured Jaw" and "The Heart Within".

It re-opened under new ownership on 7th August 1959 as the Grosvenor Theatre, but closed again on 30th January 1960 with "Ask Any Girl" and "Booby Trap". From December 1960, it was used as a warehouse, until 26th January 1962, when it re-opened again, using the circle seating area only. Closed again on 13th August 1965. Another independent operator took over in in July 1966, and began screening foreign language films until its final closure in 1969.

The building was put up ‘For Sale’, and was sold in August 1970. It was badly vandalised, and when complaints came in about the ‘eyesore’ condition of the building, the local council ordered its demolition, which took place in 1970/1971. An office block was built on the site, which in early-2011, was empty and ‘For Sale’.

Contributed by Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 3 comments)

AnthonyLeKoala on March 25, 2022 at 11:00 pm

Article from the SMH, 22-03-2022, about the history and CGI computer techniques re-creating the original appearance of the theatre on opening day in 1930:

If you cannot see the article, clear the browser cache of cookies then refresh page.

Article from the Inner West Review, 23-03-2022, Mr Brennan documentary maker and Mr Santos, film buff. Also includes a photo gallery and 2min55s CGI movie. summer-hill-icon/?cs=23035#slide=0

In case the above article’s link does not exist, there is an archive of the website, but the 2min55s movie may not play. .

Given that the movie may not play in the archived page, there is vimeo link:

In case the movie is not available, there is the archived link:

Thank you,

AnthonyLeKoala on March 25, 2022 at 11:02 pm

Apologies, typographical error in the 4th paragraph of my comment. Where it says, “Mr Santos, film buff”, replace with “Mr Zantos, film buff”. Thank you, Anthony

AnthonyLeKoala on March 25, 2022 at 11:14 pm

At the end of the 2min55s movie featuring the interior of the theatre at, if you wait to the end, you will see at the centre of the screen, “More from Paul Brennan”.

You will get the opportunity to see (1) curtains parting with and without the projected image from various viewing angles and (2) external view of the cinema starting from Summer Hill Station.

Thank you,

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