Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Britannia - Roxy Theatre, Manners Street, Perrett's Corner

Britannia Theater, with arch entrance, opened Monday 15 December 1913.
M & M (Muir and Moodie?) postcard.

In the early 1900s, Manners Street became the home of the continuous movie palaces of Wellington with such names as People's Picture Palace and The New Theatre appearing while nearby Shortt's Continuous Theatre on Willis St and West's The King's Theatre provided added competition.

On 15 December 1913 the Britannia Theatre opened across the street & a few doors down from Perrett's corner. The first feature to be shown was Adrift on Life's Tide, a British film, starring Alma Taylor, Flora Morris, Harry Royston, and Harry Gilbey.

Evening Post, 15 December 1913, Papers Past, National Library of New Zealand.

A few days before the opening the Evening Post sent its reporter along to the theatre to inspect the premises. He was much impressed by the facilities, commenting upon the novelty of floor level lighting to guide patrons in the darkness. Click on the article to read:

Evening Post, 13 December 1913, Papers Past, National Library of New Zealand.

The Britannia pictured sometime in the first half of the 1930s. Photographer unidentified. Alexander Turnbull Library.

In 1935 in the midst of the Great Depression the Britannia was re-opened as the Roxy under new ownership.

The Roxy lived on until 1974 when it was closed in the face of competition from television and other newer entertainments. It was demolished the same year to make way for a new high rise office tower.

A late night crowd leaves the Roxy after a festival of horror films on 31 July 1971 according to the notes with this photo, though the posters above the door advertise Frontier Uprising and MASH.

Ghoulish good times...

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