St. James Theatre
77 Courtney Place,
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St. James Theatre, Wellington (Official)
Previously operated by: Kerridge-Odeon
Architects: Henry Eli White
Functions: Live Theatre
Previous Names: His Majesty'sTheatre
Opened as the His Majesty’s Theatre on 26th December 1912, it was built for John Fuller to be used for vaudeville and films. The opening film was “Nell Gwynne” starring Nellie Stewart. At the time, it was the largest theatre in Australasia with 2,355 seats. Designed in a splendid Edwardian Baroque style by noted theatre architect Henry Eli White, seating was provided in orchestra, dress circle and balcony levels. There are six boxes on each side of the proscenium. After the first 9 months screening films, it went over to live show use on September 15, 1913 as a vaudeville theatre.
On 3rd May 1930 it was re-named St. James Theatre when it went over to full time cinema use when talkies were introduced. The opening film was Arthur Lake in “On With the Show”, which as well as being a talkie, it was a colour film. Operated from March 1945 by Kerridge-Odeon, it was faced with demolition in the 1980’s. The final film screened was “Wanted: Dead or Alive” starring Rutger Hauer on 7th May 1987. The theatre was saved and purchased by the city council through a charitable trust.
A full restoration was carried out in 1998, and the building is recognised by New Zealand Historic Places Trust as a Category 1 building.
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