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64.  Lyric Theatre Bendigo                                                 by  Michael Purden

             Bendigo's original Lyric Theatre in Pall Mall, where the present "Bendigo Advertiser" is situated  ,  began as the
             Olympia Skating Rink - 22 December of 1908. Twelve months later  the rink was converted to an auditorium
             where live theatre was presented.
             In  July of 1910  "The Bohemian  Dramatic Company" terminated a successful 8 week season at the  Royal
             Princess to present short plays accompanied by biograph films.  The venue is  now known  as the Lyceum.
             Tuesday,  February 28 of 1911  Messrs. Wallis and  Guidice, the proprietors of His Majesty's West's Pictures
             announced that they had leased the premises, formerly known as the Olympia Skating Rink.  With extensive
             alterations being carried out to reseat and decorate in first class style and transform it into a modem picture
             house, and it will in future be known as the Lyric Photo Plays.  The transformation was carried out by Mr. Ed.
             Branscombe and opened on Wednesday, 12 April 1911.

                                                 The LYRIC Facade Today

             In February of 1913  , the Directors of the Lyric declared a dividend at the rate of 10 per cent per annum for the
             half year ended 4th January, and proudly announced the opening of the palatial new Lyric Theatre At Charing
             Cross on Monday, February 2.  Built at a cost of pounds 15,000 ($30,000), the Lyric was designed by architects,
             Messrs. Keogh & Anste. This firm was responsible  for many other excellent edifices in the city.
             Viewed from  the main entrance at Charing Cross, the theatre presents an  imposing appearance. The word
             "LYRIC" in large gold letters on the summit of the front portion of the edifice sets off the white work below in a
             striking manner, and gives the entrance a pleasing appearance. The entrance prop is a work of art. A large wide
             vestibule with white plastered walls, leads to the ground floor, being bounded on either side by a wide roomy
             stairway leading to the dress circle. The artistic grills in front give the theatre a nice light effect, and this is set off
             by the beautiful white metal ceilings. At the bottom of the stairways are two large bronze figures supporting
             electric lights. Proceeding upstairs which are covered with linoleum and carpets, with neat brass finishings, the
            visitor reaches the gentlemen's cloak room on the first landing, with an entrance from each side. The whole of
             the landings and stairways have been finished  with  fire  resisting material,  and  this is a characteristic of the
            whole building, every precaution having been taken to ensure the safety of patrons.

             On reaching the top of the stairway and entering the dress circle one is impressed with the splendid clear view
            which is obtainable of the picture screen, the seats being so arranged that all the occupants will be able to have
             an  uninterrupted view of the photo plays.  The ceiling of the vast auditorium is 110 ft.  long, and in  this area
             inserted three oblong openings 16ft. by 10ft., for ventilation purposes.
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