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Theatre Royal / Royal Theatre / Vista

Venue Summary
Name Theatre Royal / Royal Theatre / Vista
Address Cnr Princes Highway and Hopetoun Street, Bulli, New South Wales 2516
Operation Dates 1924-09-09 - 1987-01-16
Capacity 850
Suburban/Country Country
Purpose Cinema
Screens 1
1924-09-09 - 1965-10-29 : Leased : Wollongong Theatres Pty. Ltd.
1968-04-23 - 1981-06-01 : Leased :
1968-04-23 - 1987-01-16 : Exhibitor :
Venue Comments

Kaberry and Chard theatre with pitch-roofed auditorium and a single story lobby and shop incorporated in the design.

Opened as the Theatre Royal in 1924 but quickly became known as the Royal Theatre (Parkinson 1995, p. 64). The cinema was extensively remodelled in 1954 with a dress circle being added which allowed the seating capacity to be increased to 1509 (Thorne et. al 1995).

Talking movies were introduced in 1929.

Lessee, Wollongong Theatres Ltd., closed the theatre in 1964 due to declining audience numbers however it reopened four years later by Ray, Ray, Beaston and D’Arcy under a new leasing arrangement. Operational management was undertaken by Harry Collis former manager of Oak Flats theatre.

Over the ensuing decades audience numbers fluctuated however according to Parkinson (2005, p66) the cinema’s final closure resulted not from poor ticket sales rather the declining physical state of the aging building and the consequent need for costly repairs and ongoing maintenance.

Although no longer in use as a cinema the building still stands and is listed under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 No 203 as of significant local heritage value (NSW Government 2011).

NSW Government 2011, Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 No 203
(accessed 1/5/2011)

Parkinson, R 1995, Gauffered Velour: a history of motion picture exhibition and picture theatres in the Illawarra district of New South Wales, 1897-1994, Australian Theatre Historical Society, Campbelltown, NSW.

Thorne, R, Tod, L & Cork, K 1996, Movie Theatre Heritage Register for New South Wales 1896 – 1996, Department of Architecture, University of Sydney, Sydney.

Venue Events
Event Date Name of Venue Address Latitude /
Capacity Suburban Purpose Screens
1924-09-09 Theatre Royal / Royal Theatre Cnr Princes Highway and Hopetoun Street
New South Wales 2516
1293 Country Cinema 1
1968-08-02 Vista