Regent Theatre

Regent Theatre

Melbourne is spoilt for magnificent theatres, both contemporary and traditional. The Regent Theatre is one that is steeped in history, is architecturally stunning and one that stages cutting edge contemporary musicals and theatre. The 2,162 seat Regent Theatre is at 191 Collins Street, a short walk from The Victoria Hotel Melbourne.

The Regent Theatre was opened in 1929 and was one of Victoria’s largest cinemas during the inter-war period, complete with an amazing Wurlitzer Organ. The Regent Theatre is regarded as perhaps the best example of the combined Spanish Gothic and French Renaissance revival styles in Melbourne. Lavish and opulent, it was built as two entertainment venues.

The Regent Theatre upstairs catered for 3,500 patrons while the Plaza Ballroom was designed for dining and dancing. However, it was soon converted to a cinema creating Australia’s first duplex. Disused since closing in 1969, it was meticulously renovated, refurbished and returned to its former glory to re-open in 1996.

As theatres go, The Regent is a ‘survivor’. It has survived a fire, a flood, twenty-six years in darkness and many threats of demolition by blinkered bureaucrats to turn the magnificent building into a car park or a tabaret. The 1945 fire gutted the cinema, destroying the auditorium and the organ. It was reconstructed, including a new organ, and re-opened in 1947, making it one of the last ‘picture palaces’ to be built in the country.

The Regent Theatre is part of the Marriner Group (Regent Theatre, Forum Theatre, Princess Theatre, Comedy Theatre). Here is a link to the official website for more information and what’s currently on.

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