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Encyclopedia > Auckland Civic Theatre
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The great cathedral of New Zealand cinema was Auckland's Civic Theatre, a building of unparalleled splendour with seating for 3500. The Auckland Civic Theatre was an idea of entrepreneur Thomas O'Brian, who built a movie empire in Auckland's inner suburbs in the 1920's and brought the 'atmosphere' cinema- in which coloured lights played across the ceiling to recreate the Night Sky-to New Zealand when he opened Dunedin's Moorish-style Empire De Luxe in 1928. He then persuaded a group of wealthy Auckland businessmen to build a massive atmospheric cinema in Queen Street and sweet-talked a cool $180,000 out of the Bank of New Zealand. But like many Queen City speculations, all was not what it seemed. The BNZ loan and soaring construction costs caught the attention of Parliament, and the final price tag ballooned to over $200,000. The Civic opened amid great fanfare in December 1929, but the onset of the Depression contributed to disappointing attendances - as did O'Brian's stubborn insistence on showing British rather than the more popular American films. When his company collapsed in 1932 O'Brian skipped town, later turning up in Australia, where he did in straitened circumstances in 1948. Despite the decline in cinema attendance in the television age, and the threat of the wrecker's ball in the 1980s, the Civic survives as one of Auckland's most-loved buildings. It reopened on December 20, 1999 - the 70th anniversary of its first performance. [1] Image File history File links Unbalanced_scales. ... A cathedral is a Christian church building, specifically of a denomination with an episcopal hierarchy, such as the Anglican, Catholic and some Lutheran churches, which serves as the central church of a diocese, and thus as a bishops seat. ... Schematic map of Auckland. ... An entrepreneur (a loanword from French introduced and first defined by an Irish economist named Richard Cantillon) is a person who undertakes and operates a new enterprise or venture and assumes some accountability for the inherent risks. ... Queen Street can refer to: Queen Street in Brisbane, Australia Queen Street in Auckland, New Zealand Queen Street in Ottawa, Canada Queen Street in Toronto, Ontario. ... The Bank of New Zealand (BNZ) is one of New Zealands largest banks. ... The Parliament of New Zealand consists of the Queen of New Zealand and the New Zealand House of Representatives and, until 1951, the New Zealand Legislative Council. ... Look up depression in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...

The Civic is the largest "atmospheric" theatre not only in New Zealand but also Australasia. With an Indian inspired foyer, it has been on New Zealand's Register of Historic Places since 27 June 1985. [2]

External links

  • Official Site
  • The Civic


  1. ^ Official Site
  2. ^ Register of Historic Places



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