The Kyabram Plaza Theatre | Looking Back

By Kyabram Free Press

THE Kyabram Plaza Theatre certainly looks impressive in this photo taken by Tony Cole in 1994.

A Financial Network is to the left of the main entrance and Dorothea Frocks is on the right.

The Kyabram Theatre was officially opened in May, 1929.

Prior to that time, films were shown in the Kyabram Mechanics’ Hall and various open-air theatres

In the 1960s the impact of television gradually caused a decrease in patrons visiting the theatre.

Screenings ceased on April 27, 1968 and the theatre was then stripped of all seating and equipment.

It was sold privately to a Shepparton group and operated as a restaurant called The Copper Kettle.

The building was also used for various other functions.

The Copper Kettle closed in 1979 and the building fell into disuse and disrepair.

In 1982 the Kyabram Youth Club set about bringing the theatre back from its dilapidated state at no cost to the owner, in return for a free six-month lease from the date of the first movie.

They sourced projection equipment from the old Eildon theatre and raked seating from the former Metro Theatre in Collins St, Melbourne.

All the wiring, plumbing, building of the fire escape, setting up of the projection equipment and sound system, laying of carpet and setting up of seats and kiosk was done voluntarily by local tradespeople and the committee.

Committee member Reg Fletcher generously donated $1000 towards painting the theatre.

After months of constant work the theatre was opened to the public in October, 1983.

In 1988 the Campaspe Shire Council agreed to purchase the theatre, with a committee of management under the council.

The Victorian Ministry for the Arts was petitioned to have the theatre upgraded and in the following seven years the theatre underwent a complete transformation.

In 1994, a state-of-the-art lighting and sound-reinforcement system was installed, making the Plaza Theatre one of the most technically well-equipped theatres in Australia.

● Compiled by Eileen Sullivan with information from the Free Press and the Kyabram Plaza theatre website.