HIS MAJESTY’S THEATRE PERTH
His Majesty’s Theatre Perth is an Edwardian Baroque theatre constructed from 1902 to 1904 during a period of great growth for the town, the theatre is located on the corner of Hay Street and King Street in the precinct.
At the time the theatre was opened, it was the largest theatre in Australia, and had seating for over 2,500 people. It is also thought to be the first reinforced concrete building constructed in Perth.
Over its life, the theatre has hosted large-scale musicals, ballet, opera, Shakespearean plays and many other events. It has been renovated numerous times, most notably in the late 1970s when the State Government purchased it and performed an ornamental restoration whilst modernising the facilities provided. Since that time, it has been the home of theWest Australian Ballet and West Australian Opera companies, both of which perform regularly.
The importance of His Majesty’s Theatre to the cultural fabric of Western Australia has been recognised by its inclusion on the State Register of Heritage Places and the Register of the National Estate. It has also been named a “State Heritage Icon”, and is believed to be the only remaining working Edwardian theatre in Australia.
At the time of its opening, His Majesty’s Theatre was the largest theatre in Australia and also featured the country’s largest stage and highest fly tower. The complex was constructed with reinforced concrete, and was the first reinforced concrete building in Perth and, possibly, in Australia. The structure is 4-storeys tall,and its features were influenced by 19th-century English and European theatres.It has been described as “a fine example” of Federation Free Classical or Edwardian Baroque architecture.
The building as designed by Wolfe was grander than Molloy’s Theatre Royal complex,and featured a 65-room hotel separated from the theatre by internal iron doors. The hotel had billiard rooms, parlours and six bars to serve the patrons of the theatre. The building used 272 tonnes (600,000 lb) of iron and steel, 3.75 million locally made bricks, imported marble, Minton tiles and Castlemaine slate. An electric lift led to the roof, where anobservation platform had panoramic views over the town.