Grand Design

Theatre Royal decorative detailThe design for the Theatre Royal has sometimes been attributed to William Wolf although it appears the theatre, at least, was designed by the architect J. S. Jackson, and the contractor was D. Gray.

The building featured a sliding roof in the auditorium dome and Tobin air shafts, both of these systems provided ventilation ‘without draughts’ which was seen as a high priority in the hot climate of Perth – this system was also installed in His Majesty’s Theatre when that was built eight years later. In keeping with the style of the plush new theatre, the Hotel Metropole next door was considered the height of luxury and promoted by its proprietor thus:

“Comfortable lounges are in use on the spacious balconies, and a fine view of the Swan River is obtainable from the verandahs at the rear of the building. The bedrooms, numbering fifty, are all spacious, lofty, and well fitted, while cosy drawing and reading rooms, together with a fine billiard saloon, add to the comfort of patrons. A large dining room is on the first floor, and each floor is provided with bathrooms, in which both hot and cold water are laid on.”

From 1916, the Theatre Royal, in conjunction with other Perth venues such as the Cremorne Gardens in Murray Street and Queen’s Hall in William Street, became one of the main venues for the screening of film shows. The theatre finally closed its doors in 1977 and the ground floor was converted into retail units.

In 2006 the façade of the building underwent a major restoration to repair the ravages of 100 years of weathering and recreating the ornamental detail lost over the years.

Theatre-Royal facade restoration