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         Cinema Jfistory No:76                                            'By £es Tot£

                                        TUMUT Montreal Theatre

         The Montreal is located in Russell Street and opened on 2   with the  three  stepped down loge boxes on each side to-
         April  1930  (1).  It was  built  for  local  businessman  John   wards  the  proscenium.  Apparently  these  contained  cane
         Learmont,  the name Montreal  being  an anagram  of Lear-  furniture  etc,  when  the  theatre  first  opened.  The  ceiling
         mont.  It was  built  as  an investment  on  land  adjacent  to   (probably the best feature)  is  lattice  and  caneite,  with re-
         Learmont's  clothing  and  drapery  store.  The  theatre  was   movable  panels  in  the  diamonds  to  pull  up  the  (since
         initially leased out to G Laurantus and B Cummings, (from   removed)  opalescent  school  bouse  style  light  fittings  to
         February 1930) who also  built the Athenaeum Theatre in   change the globes.
         Junee and operated the Lyceum in Junee as well. (2)
                                                              Interestingly, there was extensive use of neon on the entire
         Architects for the theatre were Kaberry and Chard. Both the   front  facade  (too  damaged  for  us  to  use,  unfortunately,
         interior and exterior are distinctive of their work, the former   including outlining the concrete lettering That spelt Mon-
         with the side scalloped boxes along the walls, and the latter   treal horizontally across the centre. Blue and red alternating
         containing  their  trademark  sloping  tiled  awning  between   sections of neon outlined the awning, under the soffit, along
         two turrets at each end of the facade.               with three glass White Way lights.

         The theatre was licensed 9  May 1930 to seat 840  on two   The front doors have black~and-white light panels in the top
         levels. (3)                                           section, the foyer is panelled and originally had damask wall
                                                              paper in the panels - probably a deep mustard gold from the
         On 24 April1932, at 3.10pm in the afternoon, the Montreal   traces I have found. The timber was all originally stained in
         suffered  fire  damage  and was  fortunate  not  to  have  been   the 20s style and the ceiling is caneite with timber beams.
         completely destroyed. Plumbers were repairing the roof and
         a spirit lamp came into contact with the tar paper used as a   The box office between the two  sets of stalls doors has a
         lining under the roof, and set it alight. The roof timbers and   reasonably nice copper grille.
         iron roof were slightly damaged by the fire,  as well as the
         auditorium ceiling, and the contents of the building suffered
         some water damage as a result of the fire brigade's actions to   In  the  1950s  (after  CinemaScope  was  installed  in  May
         extinguish  the  blaze.  As  a  result repairs  and renovations   1955) the theatre got the traditional Brakell CinemaScope
         were undertaken over the following months, but the theatre   treatment  that  included  a  great  looking  wall  to  wall  red
         was given permission to remain open. (4)             velvet scalloped valance, with gold fringe and braiding, and
                                                              red  velvet curtains.  This  necessitated  the  removal  of the
         By 1937 it was leased to Peter Stathis, who was Laurantus'   decorative arched exit fins between the third box and the
         son-in-law, then to Stathis' two sons, who each held one half   edge of the proscenium. The new screen was placed across
         share. In 1965 it was leased toR Duffus, who ran the theatre   the front wall in front of the pressed tin proscenium (which
         until1970. (5)                                       is still there) on a new ·extended stage platform, covering the
                                                              orchestra pit. The side walls from the boxes and above the
         It then saw a  series  of openings and closings as  different   valance to the ceiling line is painted matte black.
         operators came and went.
                                                              CinemaScope sure looked good! Junee and Leeton still have
         In the early  1990s,  it was  operated on Saturdays  only by   the side arches. At Tumut, the left arch was an exit as well
         Dennis Howe, who travelled down from Sydney, taking the   as access to the outsiide gents, through the exit and the right
         films with him, screened and stayed overnight in the theatre,   side  is just a  normal size  door for  access  to the  outside
         then returned  to Sydney  the  following day.  For the little   ladies - a big downfall or drawback in the 90s, as we found
         return he was making out of the venture, no refurbishment   out.
         was undertaken. (6)
                                                              For some reason during the CinemaScope installation, some
         In 1991, John Learmont, (Jnr), executor of the family estate,   seats  were  removed  from  the  rear  of the  stalls  and the
         operated the theatre for some time in an attempt to keep it   partition  wall  was  built  to  form the  closed off crossover
         going while it was up for sale. (7)                  passage. The manager's office is entered off this on the foyer
                                                              side and is under the circle stairs. There is a rear stalls exit
         In February 1992, Stephen Walsh and Dennis Davis leased   on the opposite side and  a  generator room under the left
         the  theatre  from  the  Learmont  family  under  the  Pacific   hand stairs.
         Ozone  banner,  and  stayed  there  for  approximately  two
         years, progressively refurbishing the theatre. (8)   There was a large stage (notwithstanding the too narrow for
                                                              Scope proscenium, about 29 feet I think, the whole theatre is
         Stephen Walsh gave this description of the theatre in 1997:   about 45  ft wide).  That was  set  up  originally  with  light
         The auditorium is very similar in style to the Leeton Roxy,

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