Melb's Palais Theatre To Reopen This Week Following $20 Million Refurb & Repair

16 May 2017 | 3:59 pm | Staff Writer

The venue's first event in half a year will be the opening of the St Kilda Film Festival

The first stage of Live Nation's three-decade-long lease to manage Melbourne's iconic Palais Theatre is ready to be unveiled to the public, with the 89-year-old venue set to hold its first event in six months this week to open the St Kilda Film Festival.

More than $20 million in repairs and upgrades have been undertaken at the premises over the past half-year, with this Thursday's opening marking the end of the first of two rounds of extensive works set to revitalise the historic theatre to ensure its comfortable operation well into the future.

The renovations and repairs included a restoration of the building's entire exterior, repair of the Palais sign, the installation of a colourful exterior and interior lights system, and upgrades to the theatre's electrical and lighting systems.

Funding for the works, celebrated today by Mayor Bernadine Voss, Victorian Creative Industries Minister Martin Foley and Live Nation Australia chairman Michael Coppel, was contributed by the Port Phillip Council ($7.5 million) and state government ($13.4 million).

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"After facing closure when requiring critical repairs, the Palais has been well and truly saved for generations to enjoy," Voss said in a statement. "We are excited that Council’s film festival is the first of many fantastic events to be enjoyed at this rejuvenated St Kilda landmark.

"We thank the Palais management for having the theatre ready for the festival opening in the midst of the second stage of works."

The Palais' second stage of works — worth about $6 million — includes the restoration of the auditorium's historic ceiling domes, a glass-enclosed balcony and better facilities and access for people who are mobility impaired. It is set to conclude in September.

"We are intent on reinstating this iconic venue to its former glories, to better adapt it to the changing requirements of live performances, and to operate it for the benefit of all stakeholders, hirers, staff and patrons," Coppel said in a statement. "We look forward with great enthusiasm to successfully navigating the opportunities that lie ahead."