The Jewel Theatre, licensed from 21 February 1958, was situated adjacent to a storm water channel, near the intersection of Main and Lake Roads. The nearby land was expected to be released for residential development in the then-near future and the enterprising exhibitors (Thompson Theatres Pty Ltd) hoped to cater for the expected numbers. However, the release did not eventuate.
The Jewel first advertised in The Newcastle Herald on Friday 31 January 1958 with Yull Brynner and Deborah Kerr in The King and I. The builders, etc had been given a special screening of An Affair To Remember on the Tuesday. The projection box had both 35mm projectors (Cummins and Wilson) and 16mm equipment with Westrex sound.
The theatre was built in two stages. The original building (Stage 1) was set back from the footpath. Its brick facade, stepped at the top, was broken only by the single window of the projection room. Four glass doors at street level gave access to the small vestibule. The auditorium walls were corrugated fibro above a low brick section. Internally, the auditorium was sparsely decorated, the steel framework being in no way hidden and the walls and roof were unlined. It was planned, as the theatre became established, to line the auditorium walls with curtains. Although licensed to seat 300, the Jewel had 250 tip-up theatre seats on its single level, sloping floor. The proscenium, of ribbed material, was constructed wide enough to take a CinemaScope screen.
A year or so after opening, a vestibule section (Stage 2) was constructed at the front of the building. This section, in brick, was lower than Stage 1 and had a flat roof.
Closure came on Saturday 21 August 1971. Shops were built into the vestibule and the building has been used ever since for retail purposes. It was converted into a Karate studio in 1990.
The above narrative was transcribed, with permission, from Cork, K.J., & Tod, L.R. (1993). Front stalls or back? Australian Historical Society Incorporated.
Keywords: Jewel Theatre - Glendale crossroads
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