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Majestic Theatre, Launceston

Majestic Theatre
The Majestic Theatre in 1917
Map
Address76 Brisbane Street
Launceston, Tasmania
Australia
Coordinates41°26′11.5″S 147°8′22.85″E / 41.436528°S 147.1396806°E / -41.436528; 147.1396806
OwnerNeil Pitts Mensware
Capacity1,510
Construction
Opened2 June 1917; 106 years ago (1917-06-02)
Closed28 February 1970; 54 years ago (1970-02-28)
Years active1917–1970
ArchitectMarino Lucas (design)
Website
Official site
Place ID3,891[1]
StatusPermanently Registered

The Majestic Theatre is a historic former theatre and cinema in Launceston, Tasmania, Australia.

History

The Majestic Theatre was constructed for approximately £A18,000 by Greek–Australian businessman Marino Lucas, opening to a full-house on 2 June 1917.[2] Hundreds of attendees remained outside the building, unable to secure a seat.[3] The theatre could seat 1,510 patrons (450 in the dress circle, 700 in the stalls, and 360 in the back stalls) with a proscenium measuring 9.1 by 7.6 metres (30 ft × 25 ft)[4]

It was Marino Lucas' second theatre in Launceston, following the success of the Princess Theatre.[5] Designed under the supervision of Lucas, the Majestic was architecturally influenced by Lucas' Ithacecian roots. "The architecture is Grecian," commented the Launceston Daily Telegraph, "and at the top one can see glimpses of the ancient Pantheon style."[4]

Centrally located within the Launceston tramway network on a main street, during World War I the Majestic became the busiest and most profitable cinema in Tasmania.[6] Anthony Lucas, the brother of Lucas, may have been influenced by the Majestic's phenomenal success when he planned to construct a centrally positioned theatre in Melbourne. The iconic Capitol Theatre on Swanston Street was designed by Walter Burley and Marion Mahony Griffin under the direction of Lucas in 1924.

The Majestic hosted the world premiere of Ken Hall's Gone to the Dogs in 1939.[7]

Actor Michael Pate visited the Majestic in 1950 to promote the film Sons of Matthew.[8]

Due to the rise in television ownership, the Majestic closed on 26 February 1970. The final film projected was Sweet Charity. It was purchased by brothers Neil and Don Pitt, who converted the building into a menswear store, transforming the mezzanine into a café and utilising the dress circle foyer as a workroom and auditorium as a storeroom.[9]

Contemporary use

The Majestic Theatre has operated as Neil Pitt's Menswear since 1970. The theatre's 1929 projection equipment is on display in the store.[9][10]

In popular culture

Zane Pinner's horror novel Encore, surrounding fictitious hauntings at the Majestic in Launceston was published in 2022.[11]

See also

References

  1. ^ "Permanent and Provisional Registrations as at 22 Jan 2021" (PDF). Tasmanian Heritage Register. Retrieved 22 August 2022.
  2. ^ "Majestic Opens Tomorrow". The Daily Telegraph (Launceston). 1 June 1917. p. 6. Retrieved 24 June 2022 – via National Library of Australia.
  3. ^ "New Theatre for Launceston". Daily Post (Hobart). 4 June 1917. p. 4. Retrieved 24 June 2022 – via National Library of Australia.
  4. ^ a b "The New Majestic. Imposing and Beautiful Theatre". The Examiner (Tasmania). 31 May 1917. p. 6. Retrieved 28 June 2022 – via National Library of Australia.
  5. ^ "Amusements. New Theatre at Launceston". The Mercury (Hobart). 31 May 1917. p. 2. Retrieved 24 June 2022 – via National Library of Australia.
  6. ^ "Largest Tasmanian Theatre". The World (Hobart). 5 March 1919. p. 6. Retrieved 24 June 2022 – via National Library of Australia.
  7. ^ "Stage and Screen Shows". The Examiner (Tasmania). Vol. XCVIII, no. 49. Tasmania, Australia. 9 May 1939. p. 4 (LATEST NEWS EDITION and DAILY). Retrieved 30 July 2022 – via National Library of Australia.
  8. ^ "Film Star Visits Launceston". The Examiner (Tasmania). 24 April 1950. p. 3. Retrieved 24 June 2022 – via National Library of Australia.
  9. ^ a b Armitage, Rosemary (April 2019). "Neil Pitt's Menswear". rosemaryarmitage.com. Retrieved 19 July 2022.
  10. ^ Howson, Denzil (1996). "Cinema Record Quarterly Journal, Issue 13". p. 17. Retrieved 25 June 2022.
  11. ^ "Encore by Zane Pinner". Goodreads. Retrieved 26 March 2023.
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Majestic Theatre, Launceston
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