a Classical stucco facade in the boom style of architecture. It remains an
important meeting place and venue for social occasions, exhibitions and is
known for the statue of Athena which stands in the niche at the top of the
Access: Access from Collins St is almost flat as the street gradient rises
heading east. From the foyer, the entry to the dedicated seating at the rear of
the stalls is flat. An accessible toilet is behind the box office between the M&F
toilets,ask for directions. An old lift conveys you to the Art Gallery level and
Theatre 2. Bookings at the box office (9650 1500).
240 Exhibition St, Comedy Theatre (9209 9000).
History: The site was occupied by Rowe's Circus for two years and has had
theatrical connections since 1854, when a prefabricated iron theatre was
imported from England called the Olympic Theatre, but known as the Iron Pot,
and then in the 1890s the Australian Hippodrome operated on the site.
The Comedy Theatre was constructed in 1927 28 for theatrical entrepreneurs J
C Williamson Ltd who dominated theatre entrepreneurship during the early
twentieth century, building nearby Her Majesty's Theatre. The Comedy Theatre
belongs both to the early development of the entertainment precinct of
Melbourne and to the boom period of theatre going in the 1920s resulting
from the popularity of the American musical which helped to counter some of
the effects of cinema which saw the demise of the State and Regent Theatres.
The Comedy's design has been alternatively described as having a Spanish
Mission flavour and Florentine feel with its main facade constructed in
tapestry brickwork and stucco dressings, including attached columns, arches
and wrought iron balconies. Certainly, the theatre was the first to dispense with
a Gallery, combining the dress circle with the upper circle.
Access: Access is via a step up from the street but book ahead and staff will
put out a portable ramp. There are no accessible toilets, but a T switch
hearing loop is available and there are several removable seats on aisles for
CINEMAS & THEA