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Boutique cinemas have been an integral part of our entertainment culture for decades. Many of these cinemas, built in the early 1900s, are still standing today. We’ve chosen 10 treasures from around the country.
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1. The Regal Twin, Queensland
The Regal Cinema was established in 1922 in the leafy riverside suburb of Graceville, Queensland. Under the same ownership for more than 40 years, The Regal has transformed into a boutique Art house twin cinema exhibiting European, British, foreign language, quality Australian imported movies at realistic prices. Its one of the few surviving independent cinemas in Brisbane and a local favourite.
2. The State Cinema, Tasmania
The State Cinema is an iconic Hobart landmark which has entertained Tasmanians for 100 years. It has played a significant role in the cultural and social life of the Hobart community. Located in North Hobart, the State includes a beautiful bookstore with hand-picked stationery, books and gifts. The Rooftop Cinema and Bar is popular and shows a wide range of local and international films.
3. Chauvel Cinémathèque, NSW
Chauvel Cinema has old world-charm and an impressive selective program of quality content. They also show cult favourites every Friday night. Located in Paddington, near Sydney’s CBD, this popular spot has two cinemas, a cafe and bar space.
4. Hayden Orpheum Picture Palace, NSW
The Hayden Orpheum first opened on October 3rd, 1935, as The Orpheum in Cremorne, NSW. At the time, it was a magnificent movie theatre screening films and live musicals for its 1735 seats covering over two levels. The theatre eventually became run down until it was bought by commercial property developers. Despite protests, it was ripped apart and replaced by a shopping arcade and gymnasium.
In December 1986, Mike Walsh O.B.E purchased The Orpheum. Alongside Theatre Historian and designer, John Love, he decided to restore the original theatre. A restored Hayden Orpheum opened on December 9th, 1987. Today, the theatre has six screens, state of the art equipment and an art deco style.
5. The Ritz Cinema, NSW
Sydney-based Ritz Cinema was built in 1937 and is listed as one of only two original Art Deco Cinemas remaining in Sydney. The family owned business offers the lowest price movie tickets in town. With three added theatres to the original site in 1997, and a further two in 2001, the Ritz is now a cinema multiplex situated in Sydney’s Eastern suburbs.
6. Mount Vic Flicks, NSW
Initially known as the Mount Victoria Pictures, the cinema operated until the late 1950s. It remained closed until 1986 when Ron and Diane Bayley established Mount Vic Flicks. It is located in Mount Victoria, one of the highest towns in the Blue Mountains and is an icon of the Upper Blue Mountains. Built in 1934, its a window into the golden age of Australian country theatres. The family run independent theatre showcases a mix of quality films from Australia and around the world.
7. The Astor Theatre, Victoria
The Astor Theatre located in Melbourne, is still standing since its opening in 1936 and one of the few single screen movie theatres from the 1930s in the world screening repertory movie programming. The Astor is a classic, single-screen cinema with stalls and a dress circle. Its known for its classics, cult favourites and select new releases.
8. Mercury Cinema, South Australia
Mercury Cinema was opened in 1992 by Her Majesty, The Queen and is run and operated by Mat Kesting. Mercury’s foyer was recently commissioned by the Media Resource Centre transforming it into a modern style with signature pieces from local designers. Showing mostly art house movies, this is a ‘hidden gem’.
9. Capri Theatre, South Australia
The Capri Theatre first opened in 1941 as the New Goodwood Star Theatre, built by RJ Nurse and designed by architect Chris Smith. In 1947, the Greater Union purchased the theatre and re-branded it the ‘New Cinema Curzon’. Following that, the Theatre Organ Society of Australia bought the theatre and re-named it ‘Capri Theatre’. In 1986, Crocodile Dundee played for almost one year helping the organisation to pay off their loan and own the theatre outright. A Crocodile Dundee movie poster is on display at the Theatre highlighting the film’s important historical significance.
10. The Backlot Perth, Western Australia
The Backlot Perthis a purpose built private screening room for film and corporate screenings. Located just outside of Perth’s CBD, The Backlot consists of a 50 seat screening and presentation room, lounge and bar area. It is a great location for group social or work events as they do not sell individual tickets and is only for private hire.