163 Spring Street,
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Marriner Theatres (Official)
Operated by: Marriner Theatres
Previously operated by: Greater Union Theatres
Functions: Live Theatre
Previous Names: New Princess Theatre
Located opposite the State Parliament building, the magnificent Princess Theatre opened in 1886 with a seating capacity of 2,162. It was designed by theatre architect William Pitt. In 1915 it was taken over by the Fuller brothers- Bejamin & John, and the usual programmes were plays and musicals. From 1910 and into the 1920’s there were occasional film presentations. In 1921-22, some alterations were carried out to the building by theatre architect Henry Eli White.
The Princess Theatre was leased to Greater Union Cinemas and it was wired for sound films and re-named New Princess Theatre, opening on 31st August 1929 with Mary Pickford in "Coquette". This film ran for four weeks and was followed by an eight weeks run of The Marx Brothers in "Cocoanuts". Cinema use continued until 1931 when it went back into live theatre use under the direction of the Fuller brothers, but Greater Union Cinemas retained their lease on the building for a while.
During World War II there was a shortage of live stage productions and the Princess Theatre went back to screening films, mainly Paramount Pictures and a few from Warner Bros. and MGM. The last film to play at the Princess Theatre was Burt Lancaster & Ava Gardner in "The Killers" on 18th April 1947.
The following day it went back to live theatre use with a production of "Life With Father" and has remained a stage theatre ever since. In the late 1980’s it was re-furbished at a cost of many millions of AU$. The first production to open in the re-furbished theatre was Andrew Lloyd Webber’s "Phantom of the Opera". Seating is now provided for 676 in the stalls, 303 in the dress circle and 509 in the grand circle. The Princess Theatre is now under the ownership of Marriner Theatres group.
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