TDB Sat 10 Sep 1938
Townsville’s new suburban theatre, the Plaza, will present its grand opening programme on Tuesday evening at 7.50 p.m. when the theatre will be officially opened by Ald. C. J. Mindham. The theatre is situated at the corner of Echlin and North Streets, West End, and reservations for the opening night may be made at the Sun Theatre. phone 128. That glorious musical romance “Rose Marie” starring the screen’s most popular song team. Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy will be the principal feature, with ‘Let’s Make a Million.’ an hilarious comedy production, starring Edward Everett Horton in support. The management have installed the latest ventilated ‘crying room’ for children.
TDB Tues 13 Sep 1938
For the opening night of the Plaza Theatre, newly constructed at the corner of Echlin and North Streets. West End, the management have secured a brilliant programme, headed by the glorious musical romance ‘Rose Marie.’ In this famous screen adaption of an equally famous stage play, no cost of production has been spared and the result is a picture of colossal grandeur and beauty. Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald. that great singing combination that has delighted the audiences of the entire English-speaking world, occupy the leading roles, and their interpretation of the play’s immortal song successes marks another highlight in the history of music on the screen. The picture, brimful of romance melody and spectacle, bas rightly been acclaimed as one of the masterpieces of the screen for all time. The associate attraction ‘Let’s Make a Million.’ is a screening comedy in which inimitable Edward Everett Horton is featured. There is also a programme of featurettes. The Deputy Mayor (Alderman Mindham will perform the opening ceremony. A feature of the new theatre is the ‘crying room’ which Is equipped with the RCA. high fidelity sound system, specially installed for mothers with babies. The programme commences at 7.50.
TDB Wed 14 Sep 1938
Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald, the screen’s most brilliant singing stars, are featured In ‘Rose Marie,’ being shown at the newly opened Plaza Theatre, at the corner of Echlln and North Streets. West End, to-night. The supporting Picture is ‘Let’s Make a Million,’ with Edward Everett Horton starred, and there is also a Cinesound News and Color Cartoon. The Plaza Theatre, one of the finest pieces of architectural and building works undertaken in Townsville suburban areas for some time, was an animated scene last night, with many patrons unable to obtain seats. Its unique features permit the maximum of comfort for all seated, and It Is confidently anticipated that there will be another capacity house to-night.
TDB Wed 14 Sep 1938 Page 12
Townsville’s New Theatre.
The enterprise of Mr. J. A. Feldt, Townsville’s theatre proprietor, has brought to the suburb of West End one of the finest open air theatres yet erected in the State. It is the Plaza Theatre. situated at the corner of North and Echlin Streets, a central area of the suburb that should ensure a continuity of good attendances. That the people of West End were appreciative of this modern facility for when a great concourse sought admission to the attractive floodlit building.
Mr. Feld’s first introduction to the Townsville public as a showman occurred when he acquired the Sun Theatre, in Hermit Park. His capable management of this undertaking quickly made it possible for him to undertake expansion of his activities, and his next step was to purchase and operate the Regent Theatre, in Hyde Park. The Plaza Theatre is his latest undertaking.
With his decision to build in West End, Mr. Feldt also determined that he would erect in that suburb the finest open air theatre that Northern designers and craftsmen could conceive. The architect was Mr. A. V. H. Needham, A.R.A.I.A. and the builders were Messrs. Skelly and Salt. Mr. Needham co-ordinated modern mass design with pleasing proportion and color and practicability, and the builders have faithfully executed his plans.
The result is a theatre of compelling appearance and extreme utility. Architectural beauty is imported by a system of quadrants and straight lines and colorcrete building material, and every modern device has been incorporated in the building to ensure that the theatre provides not only the maximum of efficiency as a picture show, but also the greatest comfort that can be afforded patrons. One of the outstanding features is the provision of a ‘Crying Room’ stated to be the first in North Queensland and the second in the State, in which mothers whose children prove obstreperous can view the picture and listen to the dialogue without the audience in general being afflicted with the lusty roarings of a healthy disturbed infant.
The site chosen for the erection of this theatre is eminently suitable for the display of its own architectural grace and suggestive appearance. No matter from what side it is approached, it is immediately apparent that it is not merely a picture Theatre, but a theatre that is unusually attractive and efficient.
The structure is 132 feet deep and 66 feet wide. Its modern front, set up on aesthetic lines, provides a spectacle that must ever be pleasing to the eye of the most exacting critic. Built of cream colorcrete. it is simply and yet most effectively relieved by vertical bands finished in quadrants. The sweeping cantilever awning carries a large sign proclaiming the ‘Plaza Theatre’ in large block letters, while above the awning, in vertical letters is the symbol ‘Plaza,’ surmounted by a large blue star superimposed on the colorcrete. The same illuminations extend right round the bottom facia of the awning in green and red bands, and the awning itself is relieved by violet and green bands of colorcrete.
There are also attractive cantilever awnings over the billboards and the exit doors, with fixed louvres below for ventilation purposes. The ticket office is convenient to patrons and attractively set up with a striking grille.
The main entrance doors provide one of the most brilliant spectacles. Contained in silky oak frames, with quadrants in the top corner, they are glazed with panels, consisting of clear glass of various textures, with mirrored strips running through it and chrystal curves at the bottom. The fittings are of chrome steel. In addition to these doors, of which there are two pairs, there are also large removable steel frames fitted across the very front of the vestibule, ensuring that It does not become an area for the congregation of loiterers.
On the North Street side, the colorcrete wall extends back 32 feet, while on the other side, it goes back five feet. From there back to the stage is a cream-painted wall of galvanised iron 12 feet high Two exit doors are set In on the North Street side, providing, with the exit in front and the main entrance, fully adequate means of emptying the theatre rapidly after performances.
Inside the theatre there is imparted the same air of compactness and general comfort that seems apparent from the external aspect. There is a covered area as wide as the theatre itself and extending 40 feet down it for the convenience of patrons when rain occurs. This area has a fibro-cement roof which, by deadening the sound of the rain, will allow programmes to continue without interruption. Within its’ confines there is also contained the ‘Crying Room.’
The ‘Crying Room’ is so excellently designed and comfortably furnished that it will be almost an inducement for mothers to ‘pinch’ their children in the hope of watching the programme from its confines. While being soundproof it is also most effectively ventilated and spacious. A suite of mottled cane furniture has been installed, and there are even toys with which to console his raucous “nibs”. The front is of heavy plate glass, permitting mother’s clear view of the screen, and a loudspeaker installed inside also allows her to hear the dialogue, despite baby’s squawks.
Just off the ‘Crying Room’ is a flight of stairs ascending to the projection room, in which the most modern sound system has been installed. This room is both spacious and well ventilated, and the mechanician is afforded every facility for the efficient execution of his task. The floor is of cement and the ceiling of fibro cement. the whole being entirely fire proof. The modern projector apparatus, similar to that installed in the majority of the large Southern theatres is combined with the most recently designed arc lamps, with their own power supply. Adjacent to the projection room is also a small convenient room for the winding of films.
When a Bulletin representative visited the theatre on Tuesday, rows of most comfortable canvas chairs, fully sufficient to house the audience of 900 for which the theatre is licensed, led down to the modern stage, worthy both in appearance and construction for inclusion in the finest enclosed theatre of similar size. The stage is 45 feet broad and 31 feet high and it has received the most modern treatment in design and construction.
The proscenium has attractive horizontal mouldings, with the block letters ‘P.T.’ superimposed in green and enclosed in two modern circular surrounds. Violet, green, orange, terracotta, and black, comprise the color scheme. The mouldings finish at the base of three curved moulds enclosing a modern super-imposed circular feature. The side wings are finished with quadrants and straight stepped lines. They are finished in shades of blue and pink on a shaded cream background, surmounted by vertical lattice in brown. The steps, giving access to the stage at either side, are completed by horizontal steel low balustrading.
This stage, which is constructed of the same cream colorcrete that was used fur the front of the theatre, is a work of delicate art. During performances the wings are to be floodlit, anid floodlighting will also be used to create additional effect in the front cantilever awning. The lighting throughout the entire theatre is of the most modern type and most effectively distributed
Summed up, this new attractive theatre, now that it has been completed, is a worthy acquisition not only to the suburb of West End but to the entire city. Each section has been constructed to the original design of Mr. Needham. and care has been taken to harmonise effect both in color and detail. It is a delightful spot— cool, fresh, airy and spacious— and It is undoubted that its unparalleled qualities as an entertainment house will reward Mr. Feldt again and again with attendances equally as large as that which thronged the theatre at last nights opening performance.