Page 9 - CinemaRecord Edition 3-2002 #37
P. 9

CATHS visits Her Majestys
           CATHS visits Her Majestys

                                         Brian Miller and Peter Wolfenden
                n Saturday 1 March this year
                 65 members and guests
         Otoured historic Her Majesty’s
          Theatre, Exhibition Street, and set a
          new club record for numbers at a
          theatre inspection.
            Opened as The Alexandra in 1886,
          briefly re-named The Queens in 1897
          it was leased by the American–born
          actor-manager James Cassius
          Williamson as His Majesty’s in 1900.
            Williamson died in 1913 but the
          business thrived under the management
          of the Tait brothers. ‘The Firm’ owned
          ‘The Maj’ from 1915 until 1976. A
          major fire in 1932 closed the theatre
          but the stage area was used as a movie
          studio by Frank Thring for his Efftee
          Film Productions.
            The theatre interior was redesigned
          in the Art Moderne style by Charles N.
          Hollinshed and reopened in 1934. The
          name change to Her Majesty’s in 1954
          was in honour of Queen Elizabeth II.
            Over the years the Taits presented
          everything from grand opera, operetta,
          ballet, plays and especially musicals in
          this famous venue. Stars to grace the
          stage included Dame Nellie Melba,
          Dame Joan Sutherland, Robert
          Helpmann, Katherine Hepburn and
          Marlene Dietrich.
            The Australian premiere season of
          My Fair Lady, a record 730
          performances, was only broken by
          Phantom of the Opera in the nineties.
            Her Majesty’s is now owned by
          Mike Walsh of Hayden Investments
          Pty Ltd. A complete reconstruction of
          the stage, which included widening the
          proscenium enables this theatre to
          accommodate all world class
          productions. Foyer and reception areas
          have been re- designed and improved.
          Further works are planned.
            A special thanks is due to Mr
          Walsh’s staff; Manager Richard
          Mackay-Scollay, Mary Murphy, Louise
          Cheelham and Clinton Chambers for a
          very informative and entertaining
          morning. A landmark theatre readies for
          another century of entertainment.  ★
                                             Top: Sketch of original interior.
          A celebration of the re-birth of
                                             Above: The integrity of the 1934 interior (seen here) has been maintained
          Her Majesty’s is recorded in

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