East End Theatre District

37°48′45.8″S 144°58′10.3″E / 37.812722°S 144.969528°E / -37.812722; 144.969528

Forum Theatre

The East End Theatre District is a precinct within the Melbourne central business district, and is bounded by Spring, Flinders, Swanston and Lonsdale Streets. The district is home to seven major theatres, including the Princess Theatre, Her Majesty's Theatre and the Regent Theatre. These theatres mostly house commercial productions of musicals, plays and other events, in contrast with the Southbank Arts Precinct over the Yarra River which focuses on publicly funded companies.


The East End of Melbourne was effectively formed by the Hoddle Grid, with Elizabeth Street the dividing line between east and west. The Hoddle Grid was laid out in 1837, following the founding of the Melbourne settlement in 1835.

Melbourne's first theatre, the Pavilion, was constructed adjacent to the Eagle Tavern on Bourke Street in 1842. The second theatre, the Queen's, was also constructed as part of a pub, however it was, and remains, the only major theatre in Melbourne's CBD built west of Elizabeth Street.

East End theatres

Seven surviving theatres exist within the East End. Other major entertainment venues in the East End Theatre District include live music venues 170 Russell and Max Watt's House of Music, Hoyts Melbourne Central, Palace Kino, Chinatown and ACMI cinemas.

Theatre Address Opened Capacity Owner/Operator First production Image
Athenaeum Theatre 188 Collins Street 1872 880 AT Management Dear Brutus
The Capitol 113 Swanston Street 1924 602 RMIT
Comedy Theatre 240 Exhibition Street 1928 1003 Marriner Group Our Betters
Forum Melbourne 154 Flinders Street 1929 2520 Marriner Group
Her Majesty's Theatre 219 Exhibition Street 1886 1700 Hayden Attractions Bad Lads
Princess Theatre 163 Spring Street 1854 1452 Marriner Group
Regent Theatre 191 Collins Street 1929 2141 Marriner Group

Former theatres

The East End has been home to over 25 different theatres since 1841. Some of the major former theatres are listed below.

Theatre Address Opened Closed Capacity Owner/Operator First production Image
Auditorium 171 Collins Street 1913 1934
Bijou Theatre 225 Bourke Street 1876 1934
Gaiety Theatre 217 Bourke Street 1890 1934
Haymarket Theatre 133 Bourke Street 1862 1871
King's Theatre 131 Russell Street 1908 1976
Olympic Theatre Corner of Exhibition and Lonsdale streets 1855 1860 The Lady of Lyons
Palace Theatre 20 Bourke Street 1912 2014
Pavilion Corner of Swanston and Bourke streets 1841 1845
Playbox Theatre 55 Exhibition Street 1969 1984
Prince of Wales Opera House 249 Bourke Street 1872 1898
Russell Street Theatre 19-25 Russell Street 1955 1994
Theatre Royal 232 Bourke Street 1855 1872 The School for Scandal
Tivoli Theatre 249 Bourke Street 1901 1966
Total House 170 Russell Street 1965 1978

Economic impact

In July 2016, the East End Theatre District was reported to have made an economic contribution of $692 million, and an economic impact of $226 million, to the state of Victoria.

See also

This page was last updated at 2023-11-15 20:34 UTC. Update now. View original page.

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