Queens Theatre – façade
The Queen’s Theatre was originally built in 1840, making it one of the oldest surviving buildings in Adelaide. In 1846 it was rebuilt as the Royal Victoria Theatre by George Selth Coppin, a popular comedian and successful actor-manager from Melbourne. It was capable of holding 700 people. In 1849 he opened Coppin’s Royal Exchange Hotel on Hindley Street. He has been described at the ‘Father of Australian Theatre’. The Theatre also hosted Court proceedings in the 1840s. The ‘pit’ became the Supreme Court and the ‘stage’ the Resident Magistrate’s Court and the ‘saloon’ adjoining, the Police Court. It also hosted significant public meetings including discussions on the establishment of Representative Government in the new Colony.
The site narrowly escaped full commercial redevelopment in 1973. Performers such as Barry Humphries joined the National Trust to plead the case for preservation of one of Australia’s oldest theatres. The façade has been preserved and the theatre is still available for hire for public events.