Rialto Cinemas

11 Moray Place,
Dunedin 9016

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natwil on September 28, 2017 at 1:48 pm

Realise what an old post this is but am interested in the photos of the Princess Theatre. Thanks

kerroy on December 9, 2007 at 8:33 am

If anyone is interested in seeing the three photographs (reference previous posting above) I will email them to you. I have a fourth photo taken of the St Kilda Brass Band playing in the street on Moray Place outside the front of the theatre while the crowds arriving for the gala wait on the pavement.
My email is:

kerroy on December 9, 2007 at 8:08 am

From Kerridge-Odeon Organist Iain Kerr (now in the U.K.)
I have three excellent photographs of the Christie theatre organ in Dunedin’s Empire Theatre. I was under contract as regular organist when the Empire was still a double-feature action house and was there throughout its wonderful refurbishment into a super, plush, ace showcase – St James Theatre.
Two of the photos were taken at the gala re-opening night in 1952. The place was sold out with just over 2,000 seats sold – making it second only in size to Auckland’s Civic theatre with its capacity of 2,378 (or 2,750 when its Wintergarden area was also in use). I continued playing nightly at the St James Theatre in Moray Place until the organ was bought in 1956 by Australian organist, Jack Penn-Hughes who originally wanted it for his home in Bexley, Sydney. It is now in full time use in a school in Queensland. Incidentally, after 1956 I played the Wurlitzer in the Auckland Civic when their resident Australian organist, Denis Palmistra, was on sick leave.

I must respectfully point out that the old St James Theatre in Dunedin’s High Street never had a theatre organ. Built as the Royal Princess Theatre in 1862. it was for live entertainment – variety, opera, ballet and including circus acts. It had countless dressing rooms and backstage facilities and because of its tiers of stage boxes, there was no room for any theatre organ chambers. It was re-named St James in 1931 and was, for a long time until its closure, managed by Cecily Richards, a very dear friend of mine who, after the Kerridge-Odeon High Street St James closed, went over to manage the K-O Strand Theatre in Princes Street until her retirement.

Bradley Knewstubb
Bradley Knewstubb on November 12, 2007 at 9:39 pm

This is the wrong “St James” that had the organ. the St James (original) that had the organ was located in High street. This was originally known as the Princess.

atrior on July 6, 2005 at 9:46 pm

Does anyone have a photo of the Christie theatre organ that was in the theatre when it was the Empire? Removed about 1956.

del50 on May 8, 2005 at 4:15 pm

It acually closed in 1993 and lay empty until the Village-Rialto Group reopened it.

del50 on May 8, 2005 at 4:13 pm

This cinema is now the Rialto3-plex.

atmos on November 16, 2004 at 8:25 am

The architect was Edmund Anscombe