South African Theatres and Cinemas - mostly gone

Collection by Howard Thomas

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South Africa is negligent of its theatre and cinema heritage. I have grabbed this collection of remaining photos from where I can and in a hurry before they all disappear

Howard Thomas

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Cape Town's first theatre, from an undated Maskew Miller publication of Lady Anne Barnard's diaries

Cape Town's first theatre, from an undated Maskew Miller publication of Lady Anne Barnard's diaries

Empire Johannesburg.  The Empire Theatre was situated in Commissioner Street at the corner of Kruis Street - diagonally opposite the Colosseum Theatre. It was a very impressive building and opened in September 1936 to form part of the African  Consolidated Theatres chain. The very stately and ornate auditorium had both stalls and circle seating and when used as a cinema

Empire Johannesburg. The Empire Theatre was situated in Commissioner Street at the corner of Kruis Street - diagonally opposite the Colosseum Theatre. It was a very impressive building and opened in September 1936 to form part of the African Consolidated Theatres chain. The very stately and ornate auditorium had both stalls and circle seating and when used as a cinema

Metro cinema, Johannesburg. The Metro Theatre became the leading social gathering place for Johannesburg cinemagoers who had never seen such luxury before. The awesome splendour and size of the auditorium have never been equalled in South African history for a single screen cinema.

Metro cinema, Johannesburg. The Metro Theatre became the leading social gathering place for Johannesburg cinemagoers who had never seen such luxury before. The awesome splendour and size of the auditorium have never been equalled in South African history for a single screen cinema.

Royal Cinerama, Orange Grove, Johannesburg. In 1966 the Royal (a Johannesburg suburban cinema) in Louis Botha  Avenue, Orange Grove, was refurbished and re-designed to emerge as   Johannesburg's second Cinerama theatre, the Royal Cinerama. The  opening attraction was the spectacular war epic 'Battle Of The Bulge'. The Royal Cinerama was a beautifully appointed stadium-type cinema  with a seating capacity of 732. The first manager to be appointed to  this cinema was Mr. Alec Magua.

Royal Cinerama, Orange Grove, Johannesburg. In 1966 the Royal (a Johannesburg suburban cinema) in Louis Botha Avenue, Orange Grove, was refurbished and re-designed to emerge as Johannesburg's second Cinerama theatre, the Royal Cinerama. The opening attraction was the spectacular war epic 'Battle Of The Bulge'. The Royal Cinerama was a beautifully appointed stadium-type cinema with a seating capacity of 732. The first manager to be appointed to this cinema was Mr. Alec Magua.

Metro cinema, Johannesburg. The Metro Theatre was situated at the corner of  Bree  and Von Brandis Streets, Johannesburg and was opened by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer on 4th November 1932. It would become the largest four-wall cinema in South Africa with a seating capacity of 2800. Photo above was taken in 1934 during the run of 'Treasure Island' starring Wallace Beery and Jackie Cooper.

Metro cinema, Johannesburg. The Metro Theatre was situated at the corner of Bree and Von Brandis Streets, Johannesburg and was opened by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer on 4th November 1932. It would become the largest four-wall cinema in South Africa with a seating capacity of 2800. Photo above was taken in 1934 during the run of 'Treasure Island' starring Wallace Beery and Jackie Cooper.

Cinerama Cinema, Johannesburg. The Cinerama Theatre was situated in Claim Street, Johannesburg  and opened in April 1961. Its seating capacity was 993. The theatre was closed on 27 February 1986 and converted into a discotheque.

Cinerama Cinema, Johannesburg. The Cinerama Theatre was situated in Claim Street, Johannesburg and opened in April 1961. Its seating capacity was 993. The theatre was closed on 27 February 1986 and converted into a discotheque.

Majestic cinema Fordsburg, Johannesburg. nonqaba-cinemamytake.blogspot.co.za

Majestic cinema Fordsburg, Johannesburg. nonqaba-cinemamytake.blogspot.co.za

20th Century Johannesburg. The decor could be described as 'modern contemporary' and certainly not atmospheric. The auditorium was decorated by Ernest Ullmann who used a giant relief map of the world on the auditorium walls as a symbolic figure of moving entertainment covering the hemispheres.

20th Century Johannesburg. The decor could be described as 'modern contemporary' and certainly not atmospheric. The auditorium was decorated by Ernest Ullmann who used a giant relief map of the world on the auditorium walls as a symbolic figure of moving entertainment covering the hemispheres.

EMBASSY Durban CINEMA  SOUVENIRS  The elegant Embassy Theatre was situated in Smith Street, Durban and opened its doors  in 1955. The seating capacity was 1974 contained in both stalls and circle sections.  After 34 years, the cinema was closed on Saturday 15 April 1989.

EMBASSY Durban CINEMA SOUVENIRS The elegant Embassy Theatre was situated in Smith Street, Durban and opened its doors in 1955. The seating capacity was 1974 contained in both stalls and circle sections. After 34 years, the cinema was closed on Saturday 15 April 1989.