Monday, August 4, 2008

Her Majesty's Theatre, Melbourne

Dress Circle Foyer, Her Majesty's MelbourneToday I had the priviledge to have a look around Her Majesty's Theatre in Melbourne, camera in hand.

In the 1880s, a theatre was built on the site of an open-air entertainment venue. Originally called The Alexandra, it was renamed Her Majesty's after Queen Victoria at the turn of the 20th century. It remained Her Majesty's even after Queen Victoria's death in 1901 until 1924 when it was decided His Majesty's was more appropriate.

In 1929 most of the auditorium was destroyed by fire and the theatre effectively ceased as a live venue for 5 years although it did house a movie studio and a couple of radio stations.

In 1934, the theatre re-opened with a new moderne, art deco interior including geometric shaped lights, plaster friezes depicting classic themes and wave motifs carried through to the air vents.

Three of these magnificent lights hang in the Dress Circle Foyer (above) also known as the Melba Foyer after the portrait of Dame Nellie Melba on the wall at one end. This foyer also have a number of wall lights in similar style and much of the original furniture.

Bannister, Her Majesty's, MelbourneThe railing on the stairs leading up to the foyer is a fanstically stylish feature.

The wave motif has been designed into the metal work and the wide handrail itself is made up of a series of silver bands.

My favourite part is the spiral at the bottom and the way the marble of the stairs also curves around to create a full circle.

Bannister, Her Majesty's, Melbourne

Renamed Her Majesty's following the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953, the theatre is now owned by former Australian TV star Mike Walsh and from what I saw today she is in very good hands and continues to host blockbuster shows to entertain new generations of Melburians.

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