Monday, November 29, 2010

State Theatre

The State Theatre is at 49 Market Street in the CBD. Built in 1929 and designed by the architect Henry White, the interior is a magnificent hotchpotch of Gothic, Italian and art deco design. For $22.50 you can take a tour lasting almost two hours – experience the delights of the butterfly room; stand on the stage looking out at three levels of seating (dress circle, mezzanine and stalls); gasp in horror at the revelations of cultural vandalism (in the 1960s, anything that didn't fit with the contemporary aesthetic was unceremoniously painted over or binned, including a 300-year-old fishtank which had sprung a leak); admire the Koh-I-Noor cut crystal chandelier, which weighs 4 tonnes and is apparently the second largest in the world; marvel at the 1918 U-boat submarine engine which used to power the generator, and the piles of rubble underneath the stage; and sigh at the stories of theft by theatre patrons (one miscreant attending the Sydney Film Festival, which has been held at the State Theatre since 1974, unscrewed and removed two heavy antique light fittings, leaving the live wires exposed). Much of the decor may be "faked", as our guide told us, referring to a prop technique to simulate marble which is used throughout the interior, but it's a grand and impressive building.


  1. Hi Lottiep. Great place, words and photos. Certainly brings back many memories. I have not been there for years. It was a Movie Theatre at one stage during the mid-80's.

    Really had a laugh from your Facebook introductory snippet for this APAD: "Yes! It's the roar of the greasepaint and the smell of the crowd at the State Theatre in Market Street."

    Reminded me of my favourite Comedy, The IT Crowd and one of the funniest episodes, The Work Outing where Jen, Roy and Moss head off with Philip to see a Musical with the title GAY: A Gay Musical. Before the big night, Philip questions Moss back at the IT Dept (in the basement of the Reynholm Industries building):

    Philip: Do you like the theatre?
    Moss: Never been. But I've always liked the idea of the theatre. The smell of the grease, the roar of the paint. I've often thought if I hadn't ended up in computers, I would have gone into the theatre.
    Philip: But you've never been to see a play.
    Moss: No.
    Philip: Why not?
    Moss: Never had the interest.

    Probably the funniest episode of any comendy I have ever seen.

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