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His Majesty’s Wellington was
           HENRY WHITE:                     about his sixth theatre commission and  with Regent style, but White did one
                                                                                  Ballantyne is the man synonymous
                                            there was to be work in Sydney,    first - the Regent Geelong. (See
          A MAN FOR ALL  Brisbane and Adelaide before he                       CinemaRecord 51)
                SEASONS                     brought his skill and experience to  predicted that His Majesty’s
                                                                                  Soon after its completion White
                                            extensive makeovers of the Princess
                                            (1922) and Athenaeum (1923), both in  Wellington would outlast all his
                                            Melbourne.                         theatres, but he was premature in this
                                               Building magazine was lavish in its  assessment.
                                            praise for the St James Sydney (1925),  The man who did so much to raise
                                            singling out, amongst many points, the  the bar of theatre design would be the
                                            care taken with the ventilation.   first to agree that the care now
                                            Planning and liaison for this essential  bestowed on some of his surviving
                                            component took more than a year    creations proves another design truth -
                                            before actual construction started.   improvement is always possible.  ★
                                               Henry White ran a large
                                            architectural practice in Sydney.
                                            Australia’s foremost writer on theatre     White Survivors
                                            design Ross Thorne, an admirer of
                                                                                        NEW ZEALAND
                                            White’s achievements, has said that in
                                                                                    Wellington: St James
                                            these years anyone who was anyone in
                                                                                    Auckland: St James
                                            the profession seems to have passed
                                                                                    Timaru:   Theatre Royal
                                            into his orbit. Guy Crick, who would
                                                                                    Hastings:  Municipal
                                            later make his mark with theatres in the
                                                                                    Masterton: Regent
                                            moderne style, started out in White's
                                                                                              (three screens)
                                                                                    Petone:   Grand*
                                               White seems to have been close to
          Henry Eli White
                                            Charles Bohringer, whose tally of             AUSTRALIA
            Some individuals by temperament  theatre work was to rival his own. The  Sydney:  State
          and training are perfectly matched to  two maintained separate practices, but       Capitol
          their times.  Henry Eli White (1876-  were commissioned to supervise the  Newcastle: Civic
          1952) was one such person. A big man  assembly of Union Theatre’s three   Melbourne: Princess
          in every sense of the word, White’s  ‘atmospheric’ theatres - White for the         Athenaeum
          love of theatre and his work to improve  Capitol Sydney and Bohringer for the       Metro (night club)
          the public’s enjoyment of it, is as  Ambassadors Perth and State          St Kilda  Palais
          relevant today as when he published his  Melbourne.                       Geelong:  Regent*
          ideas about theatre design. His      In this period of ‘American
          influence on the profession can be  exhuberant’, some architects, perhaps at  * Retail or other use
          summed up in Shakespeare's (amended)  the insistence of the client, seem to
          words  - ‘He bestrides the Tasman like  have borrowed and swapped ideas.
          a colossus’.                                                         Acknowledgments
                                               In a Bohringer drawing for a    This summary draws on the entry for
             Henry White was precociously   proposed re-build of the Theatre Royal
          confident. With the contract signed for  in Melbourne (it didn't happen) there  Henry White in Companion to Theatre
                                                                               in Australia, (Currency Press Sydney)
          His Majesty’s, White gave a press  are elements reminiscent of White’s  edited by Philip Parsons with Victoria
          interview in which he stated that he had  Palais St Kilda and his State Sydney.    Chance and Full Circle The History of
          studied the plans of most of the theatres                            the St James Theatre by David McGill
                                               White shared his birth year with
          of note in the world and they were not                               (Phantom House Books, NZ).
                                            another other great cinema stylist,
          much of a guide to him because they
                                            Cedric Ballantyne, and not surprisingly  Ross Thorne kindly reviewed the text
          were built for special conditions.                                   and provided two images. James
                                            their careers show similarities.
            His engineering abilities                                          Barrand supplied most of the interior
                                               Both made first-hand inspections of
          complemented his design skills. For the                              shots and Fred Page some source
                                            American cinemas in the 1920s in the
          construction of His Majesty’s, White                                 material.
                                            company of a powerful client - White
          designed the electricity supply system,
                                            with Stuart Doyle of Union Theatres,  The image of the first His Majesty’s
          the cement mixers and the electric                                   (p.6) is from Shadows On the Stage:
                                            Ballantyne with Francis Thring of
          cranes to lift the steel beams.                                      Theatre in New Zealand - First 70
                                            Hoyts  - both came back with
            No detail escaped his attention:  commissions to put what they had seen  Years, Dundee: John McIndoe Ltd
          CATHS members who inspected his   into practice, and both saw their theatre  1975.
          Theatre Royal in Timaru in 2005   work dry-up with the onset of the
          may remember seeing examples of his  Depression.
          tip-up seats.

                                                                                       CINEMARECORD 2006     9
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