RMIT CAPITOL THEATRE
History A Melbourne icon Designed by renowned architects Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony Griffin, the Capitol is one of the world’s earliest examples of the Art Deco style. It was designed to evoke a crystalline cave, with a spectacular geometric ceiling concealing over 4,000 coloured lamps within a complex three-dimensional design. Opening in 1924, it was the first large and sumptuous ‘picture palace’ in Victoria and a popular theatre well into the 1980s. However, with the rise of new technology and multiplex cinemas, the Capitol Theatre fell into disrepair and was in danger of being demolished. Recognising the cultural significance of the building, RMIT’s former Vice-Chancellor Professor David Beanland coordinated the purchase of the theatre in 1999. With the help of philanthropic support, the Capitol Theatre reopen its doors in 2019, reclaiming its place as a Melbourne heritage icon. Enjoying a new lease on life, the Capitol will once again be a centre of creative excellence. From upgrading the theatre’s signature geometric ceiling with LED lights, to painstakingly restoring the famous Ben Hur mantlepiece, months of care and expertise have gone into ensuring the Capitol remains a heritage masterpiece ready for the next generation of patrons. The widened stage and retractable screen will enable festivals and live performances to be hosted in this 580-seat auditorium made posible with the effort of RMIT University. Transport and access Located on Swanston Street, near the corner of La Trobe Street, catch a City Loop train to nearby Melbourne Central train station or to Flinders Street. From Flinders Street, you can take a connecting City Loop train or Yarra Tram along Swanston Street. Trams running along Swanston Street include routes 1, 3, 5, 6, 8, 16, 64, 67 and 72. Tram routes 24, 30 and 35 run along La Trobe Street. Visit the Public Transport Victoria website for more information and connecting services in your area. No on-campus parking is available for visitors, but you’ll find many commercial car parks a short walk away. Metered street parking is also available nearby, but note the time limits and clearway restrictions.