Liberty Theatre

81 Barrack Street,
Perth, WA 6000

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Additional Info

Firms: Sheldon & Krantz

Functions: Retail

Previous Names: Kimberley Theatre, Liberty Cinema

Nearby Theaters

The original Liberty Theatre, Perth motive

At 81 Barrack Street, the Liberty Theatre became Perth’s first art house cinema opening 1st March 1954. The architectural firm Sheldon & Krantz (the principals of which were Jewish refugees) was engaged to transform the first floor of a goldrush era building into an intimate contemporary cinema with the express purpose of screening foreign-language and art house films - mostly, of course, European.

As a speciality ‘European’ house it lasted less than a decade, but it endured screening a variety of film genres until the early-1990’s (by which time it had been renamed the Kimberley Theatre and was showing Chinese martial arts films). When I was a teenager, I remember it as the Perth ‘home’ of the Sydney Poitiers film “To Sir With Love”, which screened there for well over two years! It was closed in October 1997. It still exists today in retail use.

Contributed by barryinperth

Recent comments (view all 16 comments)

film on February 21, 2018 at 5:38 am

David Coppock asks – What was the building used for before it was converted into the Liberty Theatre?…Greg Lynch says – The Liberty sits dark (metaphorically) on the first floor of 81 Barrack St, Perth. Patrons gained entrance from Barrack street through a narrow walkway and a staircase. We know that Lionel Hart converted the first floor of an office building into a small theatre, seating 450 patrons. The theatre was opened in 1954. My information is that the upstairs space he acquired was general office space. I’m not able to link the space with any business entity. We do know that the Dease Lafayette (Photographic) Studio operated from 81 Barrack Street, for 75 years, closing in 1972, when a fire at the Liberty Theatre destroyed the photographic equipment, and caused the family business to close. The owner Denis Dease 1869 -1959 was an adept businessman, publicist and organiser. In 1900 he established an open air cinema in Perth, projecting short films from a balcony at the Grand Hotel (later the Perth Hotel) across Barrack Street onto a nearby building. Alongside these showings, Denis further illustrated his business savvy by including paid advertisements. This apparently drew the ire of the local police, and he was charged with unlawful obstruction, but the matter was taken to court and he was ultimately acquitted. Denis Dease died on the 16th of April, 1959, at Edgar Reid Hospital three years after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. He had lived to the age of 90 and had fathered four children. – Acknowledgment – Museum of Perth –

davidcoppock on May 11, 2018 at 8:14 am

There may be a dressmaking studio that now, as well as a jewellery store?

dickneeds111 on May 11, 2018 at 3:14 pm

I can,t believe that To Sir With Love ran in one theatre for almost 2 yrs anywhere in the world not even here in the USA. Is this correct?

film on May 11, 2018 at 7:58 pm

Reference dickneeds111 comment regarding the Liberty Theatre season for “To Sir With Love”– Greg Lynch says – As a comparison the Odeon Theatre in Bourke St, Melbourne ran “To Sir With Love” from Jan 5, 1968 to Sept 26,1968 – from memory it was locked in by the powers that be for a 2 week season, and then became a real surprise sleeper, running 9 months in total..It’s hard to know exactly how long this title ran at The Liberty, (with what little records that are available) “BUT” it would have been big. Also there is the possibility that the season was extended with limited screenings. Your guess, or does this mean a visit to the records office of the West Australian Newspaper??… “LOVE THIS BUSINESS”

davidcoppock on May 12, 2018 at 12:43 am

Or you could try looking on the microfilm of the West Australian newpapapers in the Alexander Library(3rd floor, Battye Library), or possibly on online on Trove? The New Oxford Theatre(now Luna Leederville), ran the Movie “The Gods must be crazy” for over 2 years, maybe even 3 years, saving that thestre, so long movie runs are possible.

davidcoppock on June 26, 2019 at 10:35 am

The dressmaking store is called Sew Unique Clothing Alterations. The adult movie “Emmanuelle screened in Paris, France for over 18 years(a World record i think?), i forget which cinema or cinemas it screened in there!!?

davidcoppock on February 13, 2021 at 4:04 am

The Liberty Theatre got a mention on the Channel 7 news(6 pm) in Perth, Western Australia, Australia, showing the outside(including the neon sign) and the inside too(the seats appear to be gone?). A man(name unknown?) has brought it(use unknown at the moment?).

davidcoppock on February 14, 2021 at 9:37 am

The news item was on 12/2/2021.

davidcoppock on February 15, 2021 at 7:10 am

Also known as Liberty Cinema.

davidcoppock on June 15, 2022 at 1:05 am

There is plans to renovate and reopen the Liberty Theatre.

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