Broadway Theatre and Gardens

110 Broadway,
Nedlands, WA 6009

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Broadway Theatre and Gardens 110 Broadway, Nedlands, WA  - 1937

The 500-seat Nedlands Picture Hall was officially opened on Monday 15th October 1923 with a capacity audience, by Mr. W. Richardson the sitting member of Subiaco, this was in the unavoidable absence of the Premier, Sir James Mitchell. In a short speech Mr Richardson referred to the optimism of the people in erecting such a hall, the cost of which had been subscribed locally through the sale of shares, of which 850 remained to be taken up. At the end of the evening Mr Richardson re-addressed the audience advising them that a further 400-shares had been sold to those present during the course of the night. The opening programme was well selected and featured Madge Bellamy in “The Hottentot”. Screening would be performed on Friday and Saturday evenings with a matinee on Saturday.

At some stage during this period the Nedlands Picture Hall and Gardens were renamed Broadway Theatre and Gardens.

In 1930, Robert Hatfield purchased the lease of the Broadway Theatre and Gardens, at the same time he was operating the Lyric Theatre, Maylands. The bio-box of the Broadway Theatre was located on the north wall of the theatre. The projection plant was movable and could be swung around to project through the portholes and then directly into the Gardens. The Gardens were considerably larger than the hard-top theatre with a capacity of 1,000-seats, consisting of tiered seating at the back, a fenced-off section in the middle containing the most expensive seats (deckchairs on the grass), and the cheapest seats being wooden ones on both sides and in front of the fenced area.

In 1933 Hatfield purchased the new XL Tone “Sound on Film Singing and Talking” equipment at a cost of over £400. XL sound engineer R. Yelland installed the plant. A special programme had been procured for the occasion, with the main attraction featuring the British International Pictures mystery drama “Blackmail” starring Anny Ondra and directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Mr. Norbett Keenan K.C. MLA, delivered a short address in which he congratulated the management on securing such quality sound equipment for the entertainment of Nedlands residents.

During the following years Robert Hatfield embarked on a programme of expansion. This would involve the acquisition of three additional theatres: The Windsor Theatre & Gardens, Nedlands, the Princess Theatre & Gardens, Claremont, and the Swanbourne Theatre. In February 1939 Robert Hatfield sold the lease of all four locations to Mr & Mrs E.P. Nelson of Nedlands in a deal that was regarded as the largest film deals ever in the state of Western Australia, totalling in excess of £50,000. The Nelsons now owned four of the most important Perth suburban theatres. L.A. Brewer was nominated as the active managing director. In later years the Broadway Theatre would be owned by a Hungarian Jewish couple, Michael, and Alice, who converted the theatre shop on the corner of the building into a delicatessen.

They continued to operate the shop selling gourmet food under the man “Michaels”. The Broadway Theatre was closed in 1958 due to the introduction of Television. The theatre would then sit idle until it was demolished during the 1970’s. The Broadway Fair Shopping Centre development now sits in its place.

Contributed by Greg Lynch

Recent comments (view all 1 comments)

Lynley on January 31, 2016 at 11:08 pm

The old Broadway Theatre was demolished in the 1970s. It was iwned by a Hungarian Jewish couple , Michael and Alice , who converted the Theatre Shop on the corner of the building to a delicatessen selling marvellous cheeses and sausage and continental foods that Perth was still discovering. They lived behind the shop . When Broadway Fair was built they continued to have a gourmet food shop called “ Michaels” .

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