681 George Street,
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Previous Names: Haymarket Theatre, Civic Theatre, Palladium Theatre
Located in the centre of Sydney in the Haymarket district on George Street almost at the corner of Hay Street. Operated variously by Hoyts and Greater Union chains. The Haymarket Theatre was opened on 29th April, 1916. It went to cinema use when Greater Union re-named it Civic Theatre on 29th September 1933, specializing in only Australian made films and opening with “The Squatters Daughter”. In 1938, Greater Union began to operate it as a live theatre, but it suffered from the Haymarket location which was not the place for a classy theatre. Every now and then live shows were booked such as “The Harlem Blackbirds” and the “Gypsy Rose Lee Show”.
It ran double bills western and horror films, much like the Lyric Theatre nearby. As the Palladium Theatre it tried live drama with the “Caine Mutiny Court Martial” with Lloyd Nolan and Ken Wayne.
Greater Union had no theatre suitable for 70mm, so the theatre was given false interior walls which were draped and a new name, the Barclay Theatre, said to be the maiden name of GU chief Sir Norman Rydge.
The Barclay Theatre opened in December 1962 with a huge hit, “The Guns of Navarone” and did well with “Lawrence of Arabia”.
As Haymarket flourished the theatre was doomed along with all the other George Street theatres and was demolished.
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