24 Mar 2020

The State Theatre on Market Street is a true gem. Urbis Director, Jonathan Bryant recently joined Sylvia Rosenblum from Eastside Radio to discuss the early days of the theatre, the unique features and the continuing restoration projects.

Completed in June 1929, The State Theatre was one of about 35 cinemas and theatres in the Sydney CBD at the time. Today, it’s a standout among the few that remain thanks to the ongoing heritage and conservation work being undertaken to guarantee the theatre is around for future generations to experience.

One of the State’s most notable characteristics is the flamboyant design language combining the French Empire style with Baroque, Italianate, Gothic, Tudor and Art Deco elements. Designed by New Zealand architect Henry White, most of the original features and rooms remain intact, including the character lounge or retiring room called The Butterfly Room. In 2018, Mr Bryant worked with International Conservation Services to conserve the unique butterfly-themed bespoke space.

To celebrate the Theatre’s 90th anniversary in 2019, the venues mighty Wurlitzer Organ underwent a landmark museum-quality conservation. The organ was one of the largest theatre organs imported into Australia during the heyday of the theatre organ. The organ was publicly heard for the first time in 1994 until the restoration brought it back to life. 

Listen to the full podcast episode here for more insights into the extraordinary State Theatre.

Header image: State Libray of New South Wales