Queens Theatre – façade

Also known as:
Royal Victoria Theatre, Horse Bazaar
Constructed:
1840

The Queen’s Theatre was originally built in 1840, making it one of the oldest surviving buildings in Adelaide.  In 1846 it was rebuilt as the Royal Victoria Theatre by George Selth Coppin, a popular comedian and successful actor-manager from Melbourne.  It was capable of holding 700 people.  In 1849 he opened Coppin’s Royal Exchange Hotel on Hindley Street.  He has been described at the ‘Father of Australian Theatre’.  The Theatre also hosted Court proceedings in the 1840s.  The ‘pit’ became the Supreme Court and the ‘stage’ the Resident Magistrate’s Court and the ‘saloon’ adjoining, the Police Court.  It also hosted significant public meetings including discussions on the establishment of Representative Government in the new Colony.

The site narrowly escaped full commercial redevelopment in 1973.  Performers such as Barry Humphries joined the National Trust to plead the case for preservation of one of Australia’s oldest theatres.  The façade has been preserved and the theatre is still available for hire for public events.

Current status and listings

ACH Status:
stable
Heritage Protection:
NTSA Listed, State Heritage Listed
NTSA ID:
1283
State Heritage ID:
10770

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3 thoughts on “Queens Theatre – façade

  1. Lola Montez gave several performances here in November 1855 ref my article in History Matters vol.14.no.3 November 2004 pp.5-6 History Trust of South Australia

  2. What a thrill it was to stumble across this little gem while taking a shortcut to my car on a recent visit back to Adelaide. It’s a pity that the surrounding multistorey eyesores dominate the area, the theatre appears much like the buildings of Petra as one turns the corner into Gilles Arcade.