Crown Theatre

Keira Street and Crown Street,
Wollongong, NSW 2500

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Greater Union Theatres

Architects: Clifford M. Chard, Guy Crick, Bruce W. Furse, Lewis Kaberry

Firms: Crick and Furse, Kaberry & Chard

Styles: Art Deco

Previous Names: Crown Picture Palace, New Crown Theatre

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Crown Theatre

Located at the corner of Keira Street and Crown Street. The Crown Picture Palace was opened as an open-air cinema on 7th October 1911. It had 1,500 seats. It was soon roofed over and the seating capacity was increased to 2,000 by the end of June 1912. It was closed in August 1920 to be rebuilt.

Architectural firm Kaberry & Chard of Sydney were engaged to design the New Crown Theatre which opened on 14th January 1921. Seating was provided 2,044 with 1,300 seats in the stalls and 600 seats in the circle. There were 18 boxes boxes which seated a total of 144. The stage was 25ft deep and the proscenium 30ft wide. In November 1923 Wollongong Theatres chain was formed and the New Crown Theatre was its head office.

In 1926 alterations were carried out to the plans of Kaberry & Chard to increase the seating capacity to 2,456 when an upper circle was constructed. On 28th June 1928 it was leased out to the Union Theatres Ltd. chain. On 22nd July 1929 it was equipped with a Western Electric(WE) sound sytstem and the Paramount ‘talkie’ “Close Harmony” starring Nancy Carroll was screened. It was taken back by the Wollongong Theatres Ltd. chain in 1936.

In August 1937 it was closed for a remodel externally & internally in an Art Deco style by architectural firm Crick & Furse. The seating capacity was now 2,354 when the Crown Theatre re-opened on 31st January 1938.

The Crown Theatre was purchased by Coles stores and was closed on 11th October 1965 with John Wayne in “Circus World”. The fixtures & fitting were auctioned off on 27th October 1965 and the building stood empty and unused until December 1972 when Coles stores demolished the theatre to build a new store.

Contributed by Ken Roe
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