Minerva (Metro) Theatre [1939]


Imagery: A.G. Foster

Arguably one of Sydney’s most iconic examples of late-Deco streamline moderne styling, the Minerva Theatre stands as a bold inter-war example of an architecture that was to disappear from the drawing boards soon after. Heralded in the United States as a vision of the future, this brand of Deco quickly infiltrated the public sphere – into buildings more commonly aligned to the everyman –  the coffee shop, the bank, the theatre. One of the most proud examples of this was Wurdeman & Becket’s Pan Pacific Auditorium (of the famed movie musical Xanadu) in Los Angeles, of which the Minerva’s creators were no doubt aware of when it came their chance to build a structure for, more than anyone, the public to occupy – if only momentarily. Originally constructed to be one of a pair with a facing theatre on Macleay St (which did not eventuate) the Minerva boasted a luxury interior with wide-set seats and indirect, sweeping lighting inset to the ceiling. It has since been converted into a cinema, before returning to theatre, then a short-lived shopping centre before being on sold once again and serving as a film studio for Kennedy-Miller.


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