Plaza Theatre

Plaza Arcade, Hay Street Mall,
Perth, WA 6000

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Hoyts Theatres

Architects: William Garnsworthy Bennett, William Thomas Leighton, H. Vivian Taylor

Firms: Taylor & Soilleaux

Styles: Art Deco

Previous Names: Hoyts Plaza Theatre, Paris Cinema

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Plaza Theatre, Hay Street Mall, Perth, WA - 1938 - INTERIOR

Hoyts' Plaza Theatre was opened on Perth’s Hay Street on 16th September 1937 and had a seating capacity of 1,314. Built on the site of the former Majestic Picture Theatre, the theatre was part of a new arcade development linking Hay and Murray Streets. The arcade remains one of Perth’s busiest, while the theatre has been closed and put to other uses in recent decades.

Designed by architect William G. Bennett in association with Melbourne’s H. Vivian Taylor of architectural firm Taylor, Soilleux & Overend, the facade of the theatre/arcade is narrow but dramatic, presenting a stylised skyscraper effect in classic art deco fashion. It opened a year in advance of the rival development of the Piccadilly Theatre (still operating) and Arcade, located 60 metres further to the west on Hay Street.

Like its late-1930s rivals - the Piccadilly Theatre and the Metro Theatre (on William Street) - the Plaza Theatre offered a new level of comfort for Perth’s movie-goers. Unlike the vast Atmospheric style Ambassadors Theatre (across the street from the Plaza Theatre) and the monumental Capitol Theatre (on William Street), the new-wave Art Deco style cinemas were compact and stylishly modern. The Plaza Theatre was remodelled in 1940 to the plans of architect William T. Leighton.

The Plaza Theatre underwent an extensive upgrade in 1965, re-opening with “The Sound of Music”. With increased capacity, a new screen and plusher appointments, the Plaza Theatre became Hoyts' premier theatre in Western Australia, home to the blockbusters. In August 1965 Hoyts chose (for reasons unknown) to re-name the theatre the Paris Cinema. Soon after, Hoyts relinguished their lease to the Ace Theatre group. With the advent of the multi-screen central city and suburban complexes, the Paris Cinema was shut down in 1984, briefly becoming a youth disco which closed in 1987.

My first experience of the Plaza Theatre was in the late-1950’s when, as a very young child, I saw Michael Todd’s “Around the World in 80 Days”. My one memory of the film is of Shirley MacLaine about to be burnt alive on the funeral pyre. It still gives me nightmares!

Contributed by barryinperth

Recent comments (view all 10 comments)

Alexinperth on June 11, 2006 at 5:43 pm

I remember seeing SOUTH PACIFIC at the Plaza. The cinema installed a new curtain in white with big pink flowers on it and sprayed floral perfume in the auditorium during the movie. Such was the charm of the cinema in those days. SOUTH PACIFIC was also filmed in TODD-AO like AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS. The Plaza installed the special sized screen for those movies. The cinema had an elegant atmosphere. Pity the cinema is not open today. They could re-open and show a lot of the old movies of the 50s and 60s on the big screen. Time to re-live the past, eh!!? Alexinperth

mancz on May 24, 2007 at 1:35 am

does anyone have any pictures of this theatre? I walk past this building, and through the arcade below it quite often wondering whats inside…

Mark747 on June 18, 2010 at 7:23 pm

Here is more information on the Plaza with a photo, was built on the site of the old Majestic Theatre:
View link

Old photo of The Majestic:
View link

damient86 on October 16, 2011 at 7:01 am

Here’s an incredible series of 3D photos of the auditorium. As you can see it was painted black from when it was a disco, and the chairs were removed. But it’s still there waiting.

View link

barryinperth on September 15, 2013 at 3:42 am

It’s heartening that the PLAZA/PARIS still exists, modified and mothballed but not destroyed. Is there someone out there who could bring this fine art deco environment back to life? If you look at the images posted by damient86, you’ll see the fine deco ceiling and streamlined wall motifs. This remains a mini-treasure awaiting re-discovery.

davidcoppock on July 19, 2015 at 1:57 am

The Plaza Theatre was opened on 16/9/37 with “Coronation in techicolour”,“March of time”, “Walt Disney colour cartoon(The Country Cousins)”,“Lastest Australian and Overseas Fox News”,and “Lloyds of London”. The theatre closed on 17/8/1965,and reopened on 19/8/1965 as the Paris Theatre. The Paris Theatre closed in 1984,and turned a disco. The entrance and exits were converted into shops in Plaza Arcade. The auditorium is still there,access through the rear entrance in the laneway.

barryinperth on July 27, 2017 at 1:07 am

When in at the Museum of Performing Arts at His Majesty’s Theatre a couple of weeks back, archivist Ivan King showed me the interior shots he has of the Plaza. They are wonderful – and thank heavens high resolution images still exist. They haven’t been scanned unfortunately but I’m hoping I can get Ivan to scan them for me so I can upload here.

davidcoppock on October 8, 2017 at 1:15 am

The Plaza Theatre closed on 17/8/1965 to renamed as the Paris Cinema(reopening date unknown?). Classified by the National Trust on 3/12/1990. State Heritage register 3613, but not registered.

davidcoppock on October 8, 2017 at 1:18 am

The disco was called Teenage Angels Disco and then callec Spiders Dance Club and closed in November 1987.

barryinperth on April 17, 2018 at 2:13 am

If you copy this link and paste it in your browser you’ll find a slide-show of the Plaza as it is now: boarded-up and decaying. The images are by Gregory Bruyer.

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