Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Progress Theatre

Diogenes had a post up recently with the title ' The Special Beauty of Industry and Decay'. I originally dyslexically misread this title as 'The Decay of the Beauty Industry' and thought for a second he was going to do a post about women's magazines and body image, or similar.

Anyway, his thesis was that industry and decaying architecture had a beauty of their own that are not well understood today. I think he's right, and in comments we got talking about decaying old buildings around Melbourne - such as the Progress Theatre, on Reynard Street, in Coburg.

Diogenes tells how he used to go there as a kid, Al discusses a meeting there with Bob Hawke, and SFW talks about some of the history of the place.

It's now used as a place for ballet lessons. If you look in the window, you'll see ballet shoes hung up in rows, and various posters advertising times for lessons.


Anonymous said...

The Progress featured an art deco front, but the rear part where the films were screened, was a bit like a shed, and devilishly cold in winter.

It wasn't a spooning theatre - more like the 'cult film' audiences of more recent times, with members of the audience shouting out humorous ripostes to really dumb lines in the film.

The owners kept good order though, and occasionally had an audience member who was too rowdy change seats - away from his mates.

Many happy memories.

TimT said...

Thank you, a wonderful description.

Anonymous said...

As an occasional tourist, and sometime flaneur, I have to admit that the decayed, crumbling, "repurposed", formerly glorious, and generally twilight buldings are by far the greatest treasures in any city's chest, and a constant delight to unearth - by plan or happenstance. I've found on my (limited) travelling, and (fairly extensive) walking, that every city (with the definite exception of Wollongong, NSW) has its share of jewels, gems, and delights quietly rusting and peeling and waiting to be discovered.

M L Jassy said...

A lovely old crumbly theatre. ("The Regress Theatre"?) Sydneysiders may recall that beside where the Gaelic Theatre now stands there used to be the "Encore Cinema", where such films as the animated "Lord of the Rings", Three Stooges and even "Salo" screened to dwindling audiences.

TimT said...

I think I went to the Encore Theatre to see a film or two. Wasn't there a Mandolin Theatre in Surrey Hills, basically a refurbished attic of a warehouse that screened cult films?

There are a number of very old, very swank, well-cared-for Melbourne cinemas. One feels guilty going to the toilet there, because the urinals themselves are not just common old tin walls, they're wonderfully polished granite and marble.

The Astor is one such. They also have a garden!

sfw said...

The Progress was part of a whole busy street. Across the road there was a chemist, grocer, hardware, hairdressers, barbers, butchers, haberdashery and a couple of garages, within a five minute walk there would have been 15 milkbars. I know everything changes and that nothing lasts, but for a small boy in the early 1960's it seemed as busy and exciting as the city.

TimT said...

Hmmm. There's a milk bar about a block and a half down, but that's it!

Most of the business seems to have migrated to Sydney Road.

Michael said...

You’re right I was a bit back then and I worked there a lot

Michael said...

You’re right I was a bit back then and I worked there a lot

Michael said...

Yes I was there as a boy, worked there and Harold Davidson was running the grandparents owned the house two doors up with the shop attached and I visited every Saturday. Nana took me to see all of her friendly shop keepers , what wonderful memories but alas most of them have since passed on.

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