Forum Theatre (former State Theatre) - 150 - 162 Flinders St . MELBOURNE [Walking Melbourne Building Information]
Walking Melbourne

Forum Theatre (former State Theatre): 150 - 162 Flinders St , MELBOURNE

Forum Theatre (former State Theatre)
Forum Theatre (former State Theatre)
Forum Theatre (former State Theatre)
Forum Theatre (former State Theatre)
Forum Theatre (former State Theatre)

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Building Profile

Name : Forum Theatre (former State Theatre)
Past Names : State Theatre, Rapallo Cinemas


Address: 150 - 162 Flinders St

Postcode: 3000

Forum Theatre (former State Theatre) is a landmark

Construction Details

Built: 1928
Original use: Theatre
Current use: Theatre

Built in the Interwar period in the Neo-Gothic style

Notable features

Topped by a jeweled copper dome, the Forum Theatre is a fantastic and perhaps exaggerated arabic inspired building complete with clock tower, oriel windows, and cupola. The interiors of the forum are just as spectacular as the exteriors, and almost identical to the interiors of the Capitol theatre in Sydney.


When it opened in February 1929, the theatre had the largest seating capacity in Australia, holding 3371 people. It features a Moorish Revival exterior, with minarets and a clock tower. The interior features reproductions of Greco-Roman statuary and a sky-blue ceiling decorated with small stars, mimicking a twilight sky. In the 1960s the theatre was converted into two cinemas, the Forum and the Rapallo, by cinema chain Greater Union. In 1978 the Forum was listed on the Historic Buildings Register. In 1981 renovations took place, dividing the complex into Forum I and Forum II. Forum I being the larger of the two is located on the ground floor and generally used for concerts and other large-scale performances, whereas the third-floor Forum II is a relatively smaller venue with a total capacity of 540 as opposed to Forum I's 2300. In 1985 it was taken over by the Revival Centres International, a Christian organisation. In 1995 it was purchased by Staged Developments Australia, who redeveloped it for use as a film and concert venue. It was later bought by David Marriner, as part of a project to establish Melbourne as a major centre for theatre in the Southern Hemisphere. Today, it is used for concerts by many bands and artists, having hosted performances by Oasis, Cat Power, The Grates, Dirty Three and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs among others. It is also a venue for the annual Melbourne International Film Festival, having showcased the popular live act Puppetry of the Penis. In more recent times the theatre has been used as a venue for numerous acts during the Melbourne International Comedy Festival including local favourite Akmal Saleh and international acts such as Mark Watson, Jason Byrne, and Arj Barker.

Architect: John Eberson, Bohringer, Taylor & Johnson

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