Movie theatres, once the main entertainment venues in Brisbane, have been decimated by videos and internet movies. It is not a new phenomenon - cinema has waxed and waned over decades. Take the picture theatre in this photo for example. It is the former Rivoli Theatre building, now a real estate office and mini-shopping centre.
This venue was originally New Farm's first open air cinema, known as Earl's Court Theatre, and it opened in August 1911. According to Brisbane City Council's heritage register, the theatre boasted "'the attractions of Glorious Fresh Air wafted from the River reaches of New Farm’, with a program of ‘New Pictures, Illustrated Songs, Refined Vaudeville and a Full Brass Band'".
During the depression years patronage dropped off. To survive the business needed to reinvent itself, becoming a skating rink in 1928 (below, top) and then a cabaret and dance hall in 1932 (below, bottom).
(Photo: Courtesy Brisbane City Council; BCC-CD20-5238803)
(Photo: trove.nla.gov.au; Brisbane Courier 18 April 1932)
It later reverted to a cinema, then a dry cleaner and in recent years a tyre retailer and now a shopping centre.
The building exterior still stands on Brunswick St, protected by BCC heritage legislation.
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