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11 January 1841 Queen's Theatre

 11 January 1841    Queen's Theatre

The Queen's Theatre in Gilles Arcade off Currie Street opened on 11 January 1841 with a performance of Othello. The theatre, built by Vaiben and Emanuel Solomon at a cost of £10,000, could hold 1200-1300 people. The lessee, John Lazar, soon ran into financial difficulties, due to the depressed economy in South Australia in the early 1840s, and by the end of 1842 he left for Sydney. After 1842 the theatre was used as a commercial exchange for a short time and as an extension of the adjoining Shakespeare's Tavern. In 1843 it was adapted for use as the Supreme, Magistrates and Police Courts.

The building became a theatre again in December 1850 when it opened as the Royal Victoria Theatre under the direction of Lazar and George Coppin. However, this venture suffered a similar fate to the old theatre. The gold rushes of the 1850s drew so many people away from South Australia that the city was devoid of people and money. Without good patronage the theatre was again forced to close in November 1851. It had another burst of life from 1859-1868 after which it had a varied career being, at different times, the home of the City Mission and later a horse bazaar and auction rooms. Later still it served as a car park. The remains of the building can still be seen at the end of a lane between Currie and Waymouth Streets.

The Advertiser,  16 June 1988, p. 12.
usan Marsden, Paul Stark, Patricia Sumerling (eds), Heritage of the City of Adelaide, Corporation of the City of Adelaide, 1990, pp. 82-85.

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