Thebarton Theatre History
The Thebarton Theatre was officially opened on Monday
June 11 1928 by Mayor HS Hatwell Esq and at the time was considered the
premier venue for concerts, films and theatre performances.
Known as the Thebarton Town Hall and Municipal offices the building was
built by the Thebarton Council at a cost of £30,000.
The opening was a grand occasion with residents satisfied that this was
a truly modern building with modern conveniences.
It was in fact elaborate and luxurious featuring seating for 2,000 people,
a large stage, beautiful proscenium arch and indirect lighting.
The theatrical lighting installed in the theatre was regarded as an innovation
with "all the colours of the rainbow thrown forth through the protruding
cone and rosette ceiling."
The hall was fitted with 2,000 lights, with only around 200 visible the
remainder used for dissolving and dimming effects.
As well as the state of the art lighting there was a full orchestra and
a variety of seating arrangements and rooms for use.
A large Assembly Room was used for functions and dancing, the administrative
building included offices and the Council Chambers as well as the Mayors
and Mayoresses rooms.
Another room was set aside for the School for Mothers, a precursor to
the Mothers and Babies Health Association.
The Dress Circle provided spacious seating with the front section boasting
luxurious armchairs with room for two people. Ten boxes to the side of
the Stalls were also fitted with armchairs to create Balcony seationg
on each side of the auditorium.
Seating in the stalls was also designed for comfort with specially constructed
chairs finished in gold leather.
In 1981 Weslo Holdings Pty. Ltd took over the lease
of the Thebarton Town Hall and renamed it Thebarton Theatre.
The building had deteriorated significantly in the latter years of the
Council's management and Weslo Holdings had to spend more than $1million
on redeveloping the theatre.
It was fitted out with new foyers, toilets, electrics, carpets, seating,
administration areas, bars, and confectionary and merchandise areas.
The developers were instructed to perfectly blend the new work with the
old and have done brilliantly with the redevelopment winning praise from
historical theatre societies and buffs world wide. There is not
to be any way that you can see where the old work (plaster, woodwork etc)
finishes and the new starts
were the absolute directions given
to the architects and builders. The work carried out by Weslo has won
plaudits from historical theatre societies and buffs world wide for its
Weslo Holdings Pty Ltd is very proud
of the fact that, except for the initial loan of $350,000 taken out by
the council (the interest on which (and some) was paid by Weslo Holdings
Pty Ltd), all other development (over $1.0 million worth) has been undertaken
and paid for by the company. Further upgrades including the beautiful
old interior will be undertaken in the near future.
Following the redevelopment the
Thebbie renewed its position as a favourite place for entertainment in
Adelaide, particularly on the contemporary music scene. The size and flexibility
of the theatre makes it easily suited to a wide variety of events from
children's concerts to alterative rock and dance acts and even sporting
events such as wrestling and kickboxing tournaments.
The medium sized venue now seats 2000 people and is perfect for young
bands breaking into the concert circuit and more established bands that
prefer the intimacy of the Thebbie to huge and impersonal stadiums.
Alternative bands love the theatre where they can perform right in the
midst of the energy and excitement of their fans.
It can be transformed though a number of seating arrangements from a 700
seat lyric mode suited to more intimate performances to 'in the round'
seating for sporting events.
The theatre can also be used for lounge/balcony section only seating perfect
for events such as The Dance Theatre of Pina Bausch.
The Thebarton Theatre is licensed, has kitchen facilities and a number
of breakout areas which can be used for conferences and seminars.
The old Council Chambers, lounge and offices have not been forgotten and
are also available for hire. They can be used for corporate entertainment,
breakout areas, private functions and other events.
The Thebarton Theatre is a popular and versatile historic treasure situated
just ten minutes from the city centre.