The Lord Mayor at the time promised Melburnians that the Regent would be rebuilt, despite the scarcity of building materials brought on by World War II. And with both of these distinguished buildings listed on the Victorian Heritage Buildings Register, both buildings are worthwhile sites on their own! Instead of light fixtures, you had a realistic night sky Instead of pavilions, you had elaborate balconies that matched the setting of the performance How magical! And unlike many atmospheric theatres that were demolished or underwent renovation, The Forum kept its atmospheric features. A pacesetter in entertainment technology, the Regent presented the first Cinemascope film in , for which a giant curved screen — over fifteen meters wide — was installed over the orchestra pit. The Forum Theatre formerly known as the State Theatre was built in as one of these venues, hosting a cinema, live music, and theatre performances. Due to high costs in running the theatre, original owners Hoyts — yes, that Hoyts — sold the Regent Theatre to Melbourne City Council as part of its City Square redevelopment project. Find out how these two venues came to be and how they have been doing since opening their doors and raising their curtains for the first time. Fast forward three years to , and the Forum Theatre was bought by an organisation that sadly let it fall into a state of disrepair.
The complex consisted of two venues: In , after years of neglect and the threat of demolition, David Marriner stepped in and pushed for the restoration of the Regent Theatre as part of the performing arts revival that was happening in Melbourne. A brief history of the Forum Theatre When it first opened, it had the largest seating capacity in the country at 3, people. Despite an initial refusal by the National Trust, the Regent was classified in To find out more about the Forum Theatre, including all its upcoming events, check out their official website here. The introduction of television struck the death knell for the two enormous cinemas. The theatrical and cinema entrepreneur, Francis W Thring, was responsible for the Regent Theatre as the flagship of his Regent cinema franchise later sold to Hoyts , and it was built under his personal supervision. A pacesetter in entertainment technology, the Regent presented the first Cinemascope film in , for which a giant curved screen — over fifteen meters wide — was installed over the orchestra pit. Downstairs, the Plaza was originally intended as a ballroom, with its side promenades for dining and a large central dance floor. Over the years, the Forum Theatre has undergone some changes — starting with the conversion of the venue into two cinemas — the Forum and the Rapallo in Fast forward three years to , and the Forum Theatre was bought by an organisation that sadly let it fall into a state of disrepair. Sunset Boulevard which was the first production staged in its reopening Annie. Two and a half years later, on 19 December , the Regent reopened. Fans of stunning architecture, rejoice! And to this day, they continue to serve as venues for some of the most exciting events in the arts and music world. The Plaza was also quickly equipped for Cinemascope, although in , it became one of the few cinemas outside North America to use the even more sensational Cinerama process, involving a giant curved screen and three-projection presentation. After years of negotiation, the restoration commenced in and took three years of meticulous craftsmanship to bring the Regent back to its former breathtaking glory. Speaking of heritage-listed, the Forum Theatre was placed on the Victorian Heritage Register due to its architectural and historical significance to the State of Victoria, demonstrating the extravagance and confidence of the s boom. After years of dwindling audiences, the curtain came down for the last time on 1 July and the Regent Theatre closed its doors. And with both of these distinguished buildings listed on the Victorian Heritage Buildings Register, both buildings are worthwhile sites on their own! The original architecture had been painstakingly re-created using the original moulds, the massive sixty-foot dome and its surrounding smaller domes were resplendent with beautiful new chandeliers, and it even featured a new organ. Finally, in the Forum Theatre was brought back to its former glory, undergoing a major restoration phase which brought back the original features and fixtures of the venue. We are, of course, talking about the Forum Theatre and Regent Theatre! The Regent opened on 15 March , a month after the Forum. The Forum Theatre formerly known as the State Theatre was built in as one of these venues, hosting a cinema, live music, and theatre performances.
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