LIGHTS, CAM­ERA …

AS GOR­GEOUS AS IT WAS AR­CHI­TEC­TURALLY GROUND­BREAK­ING, THE CAPI­TOL HAS A SPE­CIAL PLACE IN THE MEM­ORY OF MANY MELBURNIANS. OUT OF COM­MIS­SION FOR YEARS, THE THE­ATRE IS SOON TO MAKE A BRIL­LIANT COME­BACK.

The Australian - Wish Magazine - - MOTORING W - GLENDA KOR­PO­RAAL

It was once one of Aus­tralia’s most glam­orous build­ings. Open­ing in Novem­ber 1924 in Swanston Street, Mel­bourne – then the na­tion’s cap­i­tal – the Capi­tol The­atre was ground­break­ing with its mag­i­cal cave-like ceil­ing, which lit up with thou­sands of coloured globes. The cin­ema opened with a char­ity screen­ing of Ce­cil B. de Mille’s suit­ably epic The Ten Com­mand­ments. One of the most sig­nif­i­cant Aus­tralian build­ings by Chicago ar­chi­tects Wal­ter Bur­ley Grif­fin and his wife, Mar­ion Ma­hony Grif­fin, the the­atre’s doors closed in 2014. Mel­bourne ar­chi­tects Six De­grees are now work­ing on plans for its restora­tion, which its owner, RMIT, would like to re­open as a more pub­lic space, cel­e­brat­ing its role as one of Aus­tralia’s great build­ings. RMIT launched an ap­peal last Novem­ber to raise $20 mil­lion to help with the re­fur­bish­ment. The project has the back­ing of the Vic­to­rian gov­ern­ment, which kick-started the fundrais­ing with a con­tri­bu­tion of $2.5m. “It will be a very re­ward­ing ex­pe­ri­ence to be able to bring it back into the pub­lic eye,” says ar­chi­tect Pe­ter Malatt from Six De­grees. “We have taken a very sub­tle ap­proach to it. We are mak­ing an ef­fort to make sure the glory of the build­ing is recog­nised. It has a lot of mem­o­ries for Mel­bourne.”

If all goes well, the build­ing is ex­pected to be fin­ished by the end of next year. Sup­port­ers of the restora­tion project ap­peal in­clude 27-year-old RMIT grad­u­ate and film maker Ling Ang, who has do­nated $500,000 to the project; film pro­ducer and RMIT ad­junct pro­fes­sor Sue Maslin (The Dress­maker), Academy Award-win­ning an­i­ma­tor Adam El­liot (Harvie Krum­pet); and Vil­lage Road­show deputy chair­man John Kirby. “The Capi­tol has played a vi­tal role in

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