441 Toorak Road,
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Architects: Charles Neville Hollinshed
Styles: Art Deco
Rising up amongst the small shopping strip of Melbourne’s fashionable Toorak, the Village Theatre was equally as luxurious as the suburb it was built in. Opened by Stanley Argyle on 6th March 1936, the Village Theatre was designed by the noted architect, Charles Hollinshed. The same architect was responsible for the Art Deco interior of Melbourne’s Her Majesty’s Theatre in 1934.
A number of features in a similar vain to the formentioned Her Majesty’s could be found in the Village. They included walnut panelling in the foyer and lounges. Comfortable padded seating throughout the auditorium. The actual cinema was high and narrow. The proscenium was 30ft wide (9m). The auditorium was only 58ft wide (17.7m).
Many features appeared to be based on those of the British Odeon circuit at the time, including the brick façade.
The Village Theatre was acquired by Consolidated Theatres which operated theatres in various suburbs including Albert Park and Richmond. Television made a sudden impact on the box office and it was closed on 31st December 1958. In April 1962 it was in the process of being converted into a ‘live’ theatre, when the building caught fire and the remains were demolished later that year.
Despite the name, it never had any connection to Village Theatres or Village/Warner. A new cinema seating 550 and called the Trak Cinema opened on the site in 1969 (it has its own page on Cinema Treasures). It too has now closed.
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