Garrick Theatre

100 St. Kilda Road,
Melbourne, VIC 3006

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Additional Info

Architects: A. Phipps Coles

Previous Names: Snowdon Picture Theatre, Piccadilly Theatre, Playhouse Theatre

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Located in the inner city district of South Melbourne. The Snowden Picture Theatre was located on a section of Aitken Street (which no longer exists) beside St. Kilda Road on the south bank of the River Yarra. It was opened on 1st November 1912 and closed as a cinema in 1915. It re-opened as a live theatre named Playhouse Theatre from 10th June 1916 to 1932. It then became the Garrick Theatre, continuing as a live theatre until 1937. It was then used as the corporate offices for the Australian Glass Manufacturers and was demolished in 1961 to build the headquarters for the Australian Paper Manufacturers. This too was demolished in the mid-1990’s and the Quay West Apartments now stand on the site.

Contributed by Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 4 comments)

Ross Simpson
Ross Simpson on June 18, 2020 at 11:13 am

Ran as a cinema “Snowden Picture Theatre” only from 1 November 1912 until ~1915. It was named after Melbourne’s former Lord Mayor, Arthur Snowden. It then continued as a live theatre for the remainder of it’s life as “The Playhouse” from 1916 and from 1932 it was renamed again as “Garrick Theatre” which ran until 1937 when the site told to APM (later demolished and eventually the whole Snowden Gardens became Melbourne Concert Hall (opened 1982 and renamed Hamer Hall in ~2010) and the rest of the APM site was used to build the Southgate Centre. The furniture of the Garrick was donated to Melbourne University Union Theatre in the 1930s. (citation: Deb Verhoeven with others (ed.s), Cinema and Audiences Research Project database (Melbourne, 2014) [accessed 18 June 2020] and The Australian Live Performance Database

Ross Simpson
Ross Simpson on June 27, 2020 at 11:55 am

The Garrick Theatre (final name) building as it looked in 1958 as Australian Glass Manufacturers Head Office is available now to view at

Ross Simpson
Ross Simpson on June 27, 2020 at 11:56 am

Additional photo (very blurry) can be seen from the 1937 Herald Newspaper article at

Ross Simpson
Ross Simpson on July 3, 2020 at 1:02 pm

Originally operating as a cinema, Snowden’s Picture Theatre was located at 5 Aikman Street (adjacent the Alexandra Mansions) and was designed by architect A. Phipps Coles (1873-1940). Plans of the ground and first floor bearing his name and dated 20 July 1912 are in the state archive (State Library of Victoria). Snowden’s was operated from opening in later 1912 until March 1913 by Walter Hoadley (son of Abel Hoadley, whose well known jams and preserves factory was nearby) and later operated by Charles Barrett until 1915. It apparently briefly was also renamed the Picadilly in late 1915 (on 6 September 1915, the Argus newspaper reports it still named as Snowden’s Picture Theatre however). After a renovation it reopened on 10 June 1916, but as a live theatre known as the Play-House/Playhouse Theatre- its initial season was George Bernard Shaw’s “Man and Superman”(as reported in The Triad in August 1916), then The Lone Hand. The resident company in the 1920s there were the Pioneer Players, and one of their junior actors was Roy Grounds, who later designed the National Gallery of Victoria and Arts Centre Melbourne, which also features a Playhouse Theatre, perhaps named as a nod to his old venue. The Playhouse name remained until 1932. In September 1928, architect Albion H Walkley (1882-1968) had drafted plans for the proposed alterations to the theatre, including a new “cantilevered awning/verandah attached to a terracotta facade” (source: Trove) and after the redesign was completed it reopened as the Garrick Theatre in 1932. The Garrick continue on the site until it was sold for £17,500 in 1937 (source:The Argus, 28 May 1937). State records incorrectly indicate that the theatre was then demolished in 1937, however archived photos of the site feature automobiles that weren’t built at that time, and therefore does not support the date. The building is believed to have become the corporate office of the Australian Glass Manufacturers and actually demolished in the late 1960s to make way for office buildings.

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