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   Theatre Royal, 29 Campbell Street, Hobart.

The Theatre Royal stands on the oldest theatre site in Australia. The present structure incorporates fragments of the original 1836 theatre (the stone side walls of the stage remain).

Originally a two level auditorium, in 1856 a new three level auditorium was designed to fit into the existing footprint, it incorporated gas lighting and became known as the "Theatre Royal". Further alterations were undertaken in 1890 and the auditorium was modified, a new roof fitted and the stage modernized.

In 1911-12 another major alteration occurred; the interior was gutted, the walls were raised and a new roof span fitted, and a new Edwardian style, three tier auditorium complete with dome and Louis XV style decoration was added.

From c.1912 silent films screened through until the late 1920s. In 1929 “talkies” were introduced. During the 1940s the Theatre Royal moved over to film screenings, as “live theatre” diminished during war years.

In 1984 the Tasmanian Government set up a Theatre Trust for the building. In June 1984 fire destroyed the stage and smoke damaged the auditorium, but the theatre was restored with government funding to 1911 incorporating a new fly tower.



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Images: Mike Trickett, CATHS tour 2012