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This collection contains a small selection of archives relating to the Capitol Theatre, which was formerly the Belmore Markets and the Hippodrome.
The Capitol Theatre is located in Haymarket, bounded by Pitt, Hay and Campbell streets.
This area was the location of the informal Paddy’s Market in the 19th century, the new Belmore Markets from 1893 and Hippodrome for Wirth Brothers Circus from 1916 until it was converted into Capitol Theatre in 1928.
The original McRae market building was dismantled to construct the Hippodrome with the structure and details incorporated into the new building which opened in 1916. It was designed by Sydney city council architect RH Broderick and assistant architect, JH Merriman and carried out by contractors Messrs Maston & Yates.
Between 1926 and 1928 it was redesigned as a picture palace known as the Capitol Theatre by New Zealand-born architect and theatre designer Henry Eli White.
The Capitol Theatre was temporarily closed in 1932, as attendances fell during the Depression. The Capitol was re-opened by Greater Union in 1933. By 1945, the theatre was becoming dilapidated. It was closed for repairs.
The building was threatened with demolition in the 1960s and 1970s. From 1971 it was used for live entertainment rather than cinema. The New South Wales Heritage Council gave it an interim conservation order in 1979.
In the 1990s the Capitol was restored. Conservation works reinstated the atmospheric theatre finishes dating from 1928. The Capitol Theatre was officially re-opened in 1996 as a lyric theatre.
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