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Melbourne's Century-Old Capitol Theatre Has Reopened

The stunning theatre will be put to use once more, acting as a temporary home for ACMI while the museum undergoes its own refurbishment.
By Sarah Ward
June 04, 2019
By Sarah Ward
June 04, 2019

Five years after shutting up shop — and 95 years after originally opening — The Capitol Theatre is back in business. As initially announced in 2018, the historic spot has been turned into a multi-purpose space by owners RMIT, welcoming Melburnians through the doors once again from Monday, June 3.

Visitors to the revamped theatre can expect a mix of old and new. Originally designed by Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony Griffin (who also designed the city of Canberra), the same Chicago Gothic-style architecture remains, including eye-catching lighting design, the venue's standout foyers and detailed ceilings that'll make you look up.

But the site's facilities have had an upgrade, with the 580-seat theatre now boasting surround sound, digital projection and a retractable cinema screen. A new 150-person salon space is also available for events and exhibitions and the lounge and foyer areas have enjoyed a makeover. And, yes, there's both a level-one coffee and candy bar and a second-floor wine bar.

Tatjiana Plitt

RMIT intends to use the landmark venue for more than just a cinema, too. There are plans for it to host everything from virtual reality to gaming and video art through to live theatre, talks, conferences and lectures.

It will also play host to the Australian Centre for the Moving Image's programme, while the museum's Federation Square home undergoes its own transformation. You can read more about ACMI's multimillion-dollar renovation over here.

Come Thursday, June 20, The Capitol will start up its projectors and kick off its film screenings with a series of ACMI films. Christening the space is Carlos Reygadas' new movie Our Time on June 20 and a Viva Varda retrospective — a celebration of trailblazing filmmaker Agnès Varda, who passed away earlier this year — running from June 21–30. With ACMI not expected to reopen until 2020, the screen museum will settle in to The Capitol for at least nine months.

Find The Capitol at 113 Swanston Street, Melbourne. It will begin screenings from Thursday, June 20. To checkout the full lineup and buy tickets, head to the website.

Images: Tatjiana Plitt.

Published on June 04, 2019 by Sarah Ward


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