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Her Majesty's Theatre, Sydney

Her Majesty's Theatre, Sydney, Australia, refers to three theatres of the same name:

One was a theatre which opened on 10 September 1887 and closed on 10 June 1933. It was located on the corner of Pitt and Market Street, Sydney, where Centrepoint stands today.

The second was located in Quay Street. It had opened with the show Sunny in 1927 as the Empire Theatre. When J. C. Williamson wanted a long run for My Fair Lady, they renamed the theatre Her Majesty's. The theatre barely survived the 1960s and was destroyed by fire.

The third was also located at 107 Quay Street, Haymarket (near Central Station). It opened on 30 November 1973 but is no longer standing. Apartments were built on the site.

History

Her Majesty's Theatre 1887–1902



The original Her Majesty's had its origin in the partnership of James Allison and George Rignold, lessees of Adelaide's Theatre Royal and the Melbourne Opera House. They secured a long lease on a site in Pitt Street, Sydney, and formed a company for the purpose of founding a theatre. The theatre was designed by architects Gustavus Alphonse Morell and John Edward Kemp. The foundation stone was laid by Sydney Mayor Thomas Playfair in December 1884. The opening play was Henry V, and lessee Rignold was the lead player. The Governor of New South Wales, Lord Carrington, attended the opening night, arriving with his wife in a carriage, with a military escort.

Rignold held the lease for eight years, his final production was Cloncarty on 21 September 1895. For a short period, Alfred Woods leased the theatre, then J. C. Williamson and George Musgrove took over in 1896.

On Sunday 23 March 1902, a fire broke out. The asbestos safety curtain failed to operate and the interior of Her Majesty's was destroyed.

Her Majesty's Theatre 1902–1933

The theatre re-opened on 1 August 1903, replaced by a new four-storey building on the Market Street side and a new Edwardian style interior on the Pitt Street side behind the original facade designed by architect William Pitt junior.

Financial pressures from a new amusement tax, competition from the new talking movies and the economic climate led to the closure of the theatre on 10 June 1933. The last performance was The Maid of the Mountains, starring Gladys Moncrieff. Bulldozers moved in the next day and demolished the theatre. A Woolworths retail store opened on the site 22 March 1934.

Depictions

The $100 Australian banknote (in the background of the Dame Nellie Melba portrait) features an image of the interior of the theatre.