Heidelberg Historical Society

Eye Spy: A Souvenir from the Orient Theatre

Posted on Thursday, 24th August 2023 by Janine Rizzetti

Heidelberg’s only picture theatre still stands, but you won’t catch any movies there. It’s the former Orient Theatre, in Yarra St Heidelberg, and it opened on 21 December 1933, just in time for Christmas.

Printed souvenir HHS collection

This printed silk program was presented to patrons attending the Opening Night. Seating 750 people, the Orient claimed to be ‘the first theatre built for sound’, boasting the latest High Fidelity RCA Victor Photophone.

Architects Drawing 1933

The Chinese-influenced architecture and interior were designed by H. Vivian Taylor & G. A. Sollieux, architects, 499 Little Collins Street Melbourne. However, the exterior was never as ornate as shown in the architects’ drawing.

The former Orient theatre in 1974, looking worse for wear. HHS photo P3559

The Orient closed around 1966, and has since been used as a furniture store, health studio, and now Total Physiocare.

The former Orient theatre today

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