Friday, November 11, 2011

The Empire Picture Theatre

The ex Empire theatre
The Empire Picture Theatre building at 303 Cleveland Street, Redfern, is historically significant as it illustrates the changing nature of leisure, entertainment and commerce in the inner city over the course of the 20th century. It was built as the Palace Skating Rink in 1890 and by 1895 was a Swimming Baths.

In 1905 Petchell F and Co, boot manufacturers were in residence and in 1917 the Eclipse Printing Company called it home. It became the Empire Picture Theatre in 1930 and in 1933 was owned by George Harold Towart of Enfield, Showman. In 1961 it was known as 'The Stage Club Limited'.

Empire Picture Theatre gutted!

Today nothing is left inside and the space has been gutted and converted into commercial office space.

Facade detail

Facade detail


The Cleveland street facade has been modified (I would guess by George Towart?) into a stylised, post-modern interpretation of Art Deco motifs giving it a monumental character. It had apparently been "colourfully painted" however today it is quite muted. The rear of the building (in James street) still has the imposing original facade in the Federation Free Style Classical style.

Stage Club

Original main entrance

Original main entrance

View of the stage

Main stage

Source City of Sydney Heritage Listings



3 comments:

  1. I went to the matinees here in the mid 1950s

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  2. I remember going to the Saturday matinees when I was a kid in Bathurst. My favourite serial was "The Shadow" which I recently bought on DVD - still great fun :-)

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  3. I work in this building! Amazing history. Today the inside has no resemblance to any of its past uses.

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