St. Kilda Bioscope Theatre
145 Fitzroy Street,
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Previously operated by: Greater Union Theatres
Architects: Frank G. Richardson
Located in the south Melbourne district of St. Kilda, the St. Kilda Bioscope Theatre was the first purpose-built picture theatre in St. Kilda. The builders were Millard Johnson & William Gibson, film-makers who, before the building was completed had formed a partnership with J & N. Tait to create Amalgamated Pictures, Australia’s first film monopoly fully owned by Australians. In 1915 the theatre was redecorated by the registered exhibitor Cedric Johnson. The width of the theatre was 52ft wide, the length was 130 ft, the hall being 90 ft from the dress circle to the stage, with the remaining consisting of the backstage and studio areas.
Amalgamated Pictures operated the theatre and produced films in the studio until it was absorbed by Australasian Films in 1913. Australasian Films was the production arm of Union Theatres, which in 1931 would become part of the Greater Union Organisation. This made the St. Kilda Bioscope the first theatre in the Greater Union Theatres chain.
Films continued to be exhibited at the St. Kilda Bioscope Theatre until 1933, when it was converted into Studio Number Three for the Cinesound company. In May 1939 Bert Matthews converted the Cinesound Studios into a venue named The Barn - this new coffee-lounge didn’t trade for long and the building was gutted soon after. A block of flats were built on the site in 1996 which remain in 2022.
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