East End Theatre District

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Coordinates: 37°48′45.8″S 144°58′10.3″E / 37.812722°S 144.969528°E / -37.812722; 144.969528

The East End Theatre District is a precinct within the Melbourne city centre, and is bounded by Spring Street, Flinders Street, Swanston Street, and Lonsdale Street. The district is home to six of Melbourne's major theatres, including the Princess Theatre, Her Majesty's Theatre, and the Regent Theatre.[1] These theatres mostly house commercial productions of musicals, plays and other events, in contrast with the Southbank Arts Precinct over the Yarra River which focuses on publicly funded companies.

History[edit]

The East End of Melbourne was effectively formed by the Hoddle Grid, with Elizabeth Street the dividing line between east and west. The Hoddle Grid was laid out in 1837, following the founding of the Melbourne settlement in 1835.

Melbourne's first theatre, the Pavilion, was constructed adjacent to the Eagle Tavern on Bourke Street in 1842.[2] The second theatre, the Queen's, was also constructed as part of a pub, however it was, and remains, the only major theatre in Melbourne's CBD built west of Elizabeth Street.[2]

East End theatres[edit]

Six surviving theatres exist within the East End:

Other major entertainment venues in the East End Theatre District include live music venues 170 Russell and Max Watt's House of Music, and the Capitol Theatre, Hoyts Melbourne Central, Palace Kino, Chinatown and ACMI cinemas.

Current and upcoming productions[edit]

  • If no show is currently running, the play listed is the next show planned (dates marked with an *).
  • If the next show planned is not announced, the applicable columns are left blank.
Theatre Owner Address Capacity Production Type Opened Closing
Athenaeum Theatre AT Management 188 Collins Street 880 Comedy venue Comedy
Comedy Theatre Marriner Group Cnr Exhibition & Lonsdale Streets 997 Various productions Various
Forum Melbourne Marriner Group Cnr Flinders & Russell Streets 2000 Concert venue Music
Her Majesty's Theatre Hayden Attractions 219 Exhibition Street 1700 The Rocky Horror Show Musical 12 July 2018 26 August 2018
Princess Theatre Marriner Group 163 Spring Street 1452 Mamma Mia! Musical 10 July 2018 30 September 2018
Regent Theatre Marriner Group 191 Collins Street 2141 Jersey Boys Musical 23 February 2019*

Historic theatres[edit]

The East End has been home to over 25 different theatres since 1841. Some of the major theatres are listed below.

Theatre Address Year Opened Year Closed Year Rebuilt Year Closed
Pavilion Cnr Swanston St and Bourke St 1841 1845 - -
Queen's* Cnr Queen St and Little Bourke St 1845 1856 - -
Theatre Royal 232 Bourke St 1855 1872 1872 1933
Olympic (the "Iron Pot") Cnr Exhibition St and Lonsdale St 1855 1860 - -
Haymarket 133 Bourke St 1862 1871 - -
Prince of Wales Opera House 249 Bourke St 1872 1898 - -
Bijou 225 Bourke St 1876 1889 1890 1934
Tivoli 249 Bourke St 1901 1966 - -
King's 131 Russell St 1908 1976 - -
Palace 20 Bourke St 1912 Currently closed - -
Auditorium 171 Collins St 1913 1934 - -
Playbox 55 Exhibition St 1969 1984 - -
Russell Street 19-25 Russell St 1955 1994
  • The Queen's Theatre is the only theatre to be built in Melbourne's CBD outside of the East End.

Economic impact[edit]

In July 2016, the East End Theatre District was reported to have made an economic contribution of $692 million, and an economic impact of $226 million, to the state of Victoria.[3]

See also[edit]

References[edit]