1 Parliament Street,
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Architects: Percy Rogers Cooke
The Capitol Theatre, Pretoria, was one of the first Atmospheric style cinemas to be built in South Africa and is situated in Parliament Street. It was built on the site of the President Theatre. The Capitol Theatre opened by General J.B.M Hertzog (then prime Minister of the Union Of South Africa) on 5th September 1931. The theatre was designed by P. Rogers Cooke, a prominent architect of the time, in the Italian Renaissance style.
A remarkable feature of the Capitol Theatre was the unusual entrance foyer (lobby) and the grand foyer which gave access to the orchestra stalls. These foyers were over 200 feet in length and at right angles to the axis of the theatre.
From the foyer grand staircases led to a wide promenade for use during intermissions for the serving of refreshments. From the mezzanine promenade two corridors gave access to the aisle dividing the loge seats of the dress circle from the upper circle.
The Capitol Theatre was also the proud owner of a Wurlitzer organ that was set behind latticed screens on either side of the proscenium arch and controlled from the console in the orchestra pit.
Sadly, with the arrival of multiplex cinemas in the late-1970’s, the Capitol Theatre was closed to the public on 26th October 1974. What is left of this historical building was converted by Pretoria City Council into a parking garage several years ago. Much of the building is still intact and serves as a reminder of the glory days of the Atmospheric style cinema.
In December 2007, the building was converted into a gay nightclub, named Legends.
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