P. 9

There was no shortage of talent to keep the music coming, with names  The foyers of the theatre exude a kind of regal atmosphere, with marble
       like Johanna Allen, Robyn Archer, Michaela Burger, Cameron Goodall,  stairs,  rich  red  curtains  and  carpets,  all  set  off  by  a  large,  central
       Ali McGregor, Meow Meow, Rob Mills, and Tim Rogers in the line-up  chandelier consisting of three tiers of hundreds of long slender glass
       of performers. Even Barry Humphries was there on video, as he could  tubes, topped with glistening gold embellishments, in both downstairs
       not be there in person. He has taken on the role of Patron of the HMT  and upstairs foyers. It was all very fitting, given the name of the theatre.
       Renewal Project, to which proceeds of this closing Benefit Concert were  There were landings midway between the two foyers which provided
       contributing.  It  was  certainly  a  night  to  remember  and  had  people  space for beverages and refreshments to be served and enjoyed. There
       reminiscing about the various shows they had attended there over the  are, however, significant changes being planned as part of the renewal
       years.                                                project for the theatre. A building next to Her Majesty’s, on the western
                                                             side, has been purchased. This will be redeveloped to provide a new
       Earlier that week, on the Wednesday afternoon, I was fortunate to be  entrance  and  foyer  spaces  for  the  theatre  allowing,  in  turn,  for  the
       given  the  opportunity  to  take  a  comprehensive  set  of  photos  of  Her  expansion of the existing auditorium.
       Majesty’s before the extensive makeover got underway, so in the process
       became more aware of long history of this famous theatre. The theatre
       originally opened on Friday 5 September 1913 as the Tivoli Theatre,
       part of a nationwide chain of variety theatres. With two balconies as well
                                       as the stalls floor, it seated
                                       2170 patrons. At the time,
                                       it  was  widely  regarded  as
                                       the   finest   theatre   in
                                       Australia.  Today,  it  is  the
                                       only  theatre  of  the  Tivoli
                                       circuit still surviving. In the
                                       downstairs   foyer,   an
                                       impressive  Art  Nouveau
                                       commemorative   plaque
                                       attests to the opening of the
                                       theatre,   and   my
                                       photographic   journey
                                       indicated  that  the  theatre
                                       had, in fact, had a number
                                       of different names over the  The current auditorium consisted of two levels - Stalls and Dress Circle,
                                       years.  The  first  name  providing  seating  for  970  patrons.  The  plan  is  to  increase  this  to
                                       change came on 28 August  somewhere between 1400 and 1500, not only by expanding the existing
                                       1920,  when  it  became  the  auditorium, but also by returning a second balcony. This will allow the
                                       Prince  of  Wales  Theatre  theatre to present more of the touring blockbuster shows that sometimes
                                       and, in the upstairs foyer, I  have  to  bypass  Adelaide.  When  I  entered  the  current  auditorium  for
                                       discovered  a  framed  copy  photography, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the impressive fire
                                       of  the  Box  Plans  bearing  safety curtain was down, something I suspect was not often seen by
                                       that  title.  The  theatre  patrons. It is covered by a scenic cloth, painted by Melbourne theatre
                                       operated  under  that  name  designer and scenic artist Paul Kathner, depicting a view of the theatre's
       for ten years, until with a change of management, it reverted to the Tivoli  exterior as it was back in 1913 when the theatre opened. The cloth has
       Theatre on 13 September 1930. J.C. Williamson took over the theatre  been treated much as though it was part of a stage set, and was completed
       in  1954.  A  major  makeover  followed  under  theatre  architect  Charles  and installed in the theatre in 1991. With the big changes afoot, it really
       Neville Hollinshed, transforming the theatre, which included removal of  set off the auditorium appropriately for photographs of the theatre at this
       the old upper gallery. The theatre re-opened on 8 November 1962 with  time in its history. Interestingly, I have also seen and photographed a
       a new name - Her Majesty’s. By 1976, change was in the air again, and  similar scenic cloth Paul painted for Ballarat's famous and even older
       the South Australian Government purchased the theatre as a new home  Her Majesty’s Theatre which was completed a year before this one,
       for the State Opera of South Australia. This resulted in yet another name  and he treated that one in a similar manner. After sufficient photographs
       change for the theatre, as well as another comprehensive makeover, and  had  been  taken,  the  fire  safety  curtain  was  raised  with  the  intent  of
       the remodelled venue was formally opened as The Opera Theatre on  lowering the red house curtain for further photos but, despite every effort
       10  March  1979.    There  was  one  last  name  change  to  come.  Opera  being made, it would not co-operate and obstinately remained in the fly
       productions moved to Adelaide’s Festival Theatre in 1989 so, on 31  tower.
       August 1988, the Opera Theatre name was officially restored to Her
       Majesty’s  Theatre.  A  panel  with  the  three  key  plaques  adorns  a  Above the present auditorium ceiling, a few remnants of the original
       downstairs foyer wall. This, of course, had to be the subject of one of my  second balcony remain. Allan Hall recalls that, back when he was a young

                                                               The theatre’s exterior in 1913, painted on the fire curtain by Paul Kathner,

                                                                                          CINEMARECORD  # 99  9
   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14