|Address||154 Flinders Street|
|Designation||Victorian Heritage Register, Historic Buildings Register|
|Architect||Bohringer, Taylor & Johnson|
|Owned by||Marriner Theatres|
|Current use||live music, comedy, live theatre|
The Forum Theatre (formerly known as the "State Theatre") is a theatre located on the corner of Flinders Street and Russell Street in the central business district of Melbourne, Australia. The building was designed by American architect John Eberson, who has designed many theatres across the globe, along with a local architectural firm at the time; Bohringer, Taylor & Johnson. It was designed as an "Atmospheric theatre" movie palace. The interior features reproductions of Greco-Roman statuary and a sky-blue ceiling decorated with small stars, mimicking a twilight sky.
When it opened in February 1929, the cinema had the largest seating capacity in Australia, holding 3371 people. A dual-console Wurlitzer organ of style 270 was installed featuring 21 rows of pipes and a grand piano attachment and oboe horn The building features a Moorish Revival exterior, with minarets and a clock tower.
In the 1963 the venue was converted into two cinemas, the Forum and the Rapallo, by cinema chain Greater Union. In 1978 the Forum was listed on the Historic Buildings Register. In 1981 renovations took place, dividing the complex into Forum I and Forum II. Forum I being the larger of the two is located on the ground floor and generally used for concerts and other large-scale performances, whereas the third-floor Forum II is a smaller venue with a total capacity of 543 (concert) - 594 (screening) as opposed to Forum I's 1500 (standing) or 788 (cabaret) or 826 (theatre).
The theatre is listed on the Victorian Heritage Register.
In 1985 it was purchased and used by the Revival Centres International, a Christian organisation and fell into disrepair. In 1995 it was purchased by Staged Developments Australia, who redeveloped it for use as a film and concert venue.
It was later bought by David Marriner, as part of a project to establish Melbourne as a major centre for theatre in the Southern Hemisphere.
Today, it is used for concerts by many artists, having hosted performances by Oasis, Ozzy Osbourne, Katy Perry, Cat Power, The Grates, Dirty Three, Sufjan Stevens, Blind Guardian & The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, among others.
In more recent times, the theatre has been used as a venue for numerous acts during the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, including local favourite Akmal Saleh and international acts, such as Mark Watson, Jason Byrne, Arj Barker & Megan Mullally among others.
- Thorne, Ross, Picture Palace Architecture in Australia, Sun Books Pty. Ltd., South Melbourne, Victoria, 1976.
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