Schonell Theatre

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Entrance of Schonell Theatre

The Schonell Cinema & Live Theatre is a unique and affordable venue for theatre, special events and exclusive cinema screenings. For further information on venue hire visit It consists of Theatre One: a 420-seat,[1] single auditorium theatre capable of hosting musical performances, plays and lectures and Cinema 2, a 175-seat cinema suitable for exclusive screenings, presentations and small performances.

The Schonell Cinema & Theatre has ceased weekly film sessions as of Monday 5th June, 2017 and is now exclusively available for private hire.


It is situated in the UQU complex at the University of Queensland's St Lucia campus. The theatre was constructed in 1970 and underwent refurbishment in 2005. It is owned and operated by the University of Queensland Union (UQU).

For three decades, the theatre hosted regular screenings of popular, alternative, and foreign motion pictures. On 24 June 2006, [2] however, Schonell Theatre was forced to cease regular cinema screenings of major motion pictures. Film began again in 2008, with screenings from Thursday to Monday in Cinema 2.Schonell Theatre remains an important part of campus culture and the theatre community. Live theatre performances are extensive and ongoing throughout the year. The Schonell is home to the popular gourmet pizza café.

The theatre was constructed in 1970 and was renovated in 2005 with $4 million provided by the University of Queensland Union (UQU). Shows during its history include the Brisbane Scouts Gang Show,[3] Home of Strangers and Rent. It was named after Fred Schonell, a previous Vice-Chancellor of the university.


The Schonell Theatre closed its regular cinema operations on the 24 June 2006. The University of Queensland Union (UQU) cited low attendance rates,[4] the increasing cost of airing major motion pictures and the introduction of Voluntary Student Unionism (VSU) as the cause. Following the introduction of VSU, the union could no longer afford to subsidise the failing Theatre.[5] In 2008 the Schonell re-commenced regular screenings of films again. Arthouse, foreign language, Australian films and independent releases are screened from Thursdays through to Mondays (closed public holidays). The theatre is still used for live theatre productions, university lectures, and is available for booked special screenings and events.

The Cement Box Theatre has recently been refurbished and renamed the Geoffrey Rush Drama Studio. This venue is now used by the University as a teaching space.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Schonell Official Page
  2. ^ Closure Page
  3. ^ Scouts Gang Show
  4. ^ Union Newsletter - Closure of Theatre
  5. ^ Schonell Theatre News Page - Closure Reason

Coordinates: 27°29′49.5″S 153°00′55.1″E / 27.497083°S 153.015306°E / -27.497083; 153.015306