The Enmore Theatre is now Sydney’s oldest and longest running live theatre
The Enmore Theatre plays a distinctive role in the social and cultural life of the city and occupies a unique position in Sydney’s theatrical history. Originally built in 1908 and opened to the public as a photo-play theatre in 1912. The Enmore and the Szarka brothers commenced a succession of sold out performances and remarkable success.
The theatre was extensively renovated in 1920 and given a handsome palladium style façade. Hoyts closed the Enmore and began an extensive modernisation of the entire building. The theatre re-emerged as a “large art deco showplace”, with a newly renovated stage, increased stage flying capacity, new façade, interior and décor. It is this art deco remodelling that appears today.
The evolution of the building over nearly a century has resulted in an architectural fabric that includes elements of Art nouveau, Edwardian, Art Moderne and various Art Deco styles.
Unlike so many of its sister city theatres the Enmore defied demolition. Like Paddington, Glebe and Newtown, Enmore was never pro-development until the early 1980’s. It was during this period that the majestic Regent Theatre was demolished, the Capitol condemned and closed and the Walter Burley Griffin designed Paris destroyed for redevelopment. This left a deep void and created a demand for a theatre of the Enmore’s capacity, staging facilities and heritage ambience and appeal.
The Enmore Theatre is classified by the National Trust and is listed in the Historic Buildings Register of the Australian Institute of Architects. The Enmore Theatre is one of two surviving art deco theatres in Sydney and the only one in its full original condition.