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NEW MELBOURNE THEATRE.
COMEDY OPENS TO-MORROW.
Stage hands are remarkable workmen, capable of transforming a stage into any one of an infinite variety of scenes in an incredibly brief time. Amateur observers of the final preparations for a theatrical "first night" might state emphatically that the stage would not be ready in time, but the skilled workmen behind the scenes, labouring swiftly and surely, would know better. Whatever the cost in mental and physical energy, it is certain that every- thing will be ready at curtain rise.
The visitor to the new Comedy Theatre in Exhibition street yesterday afternoon would have required much convincing that this beautiful playhouse, which has been built for J. C. Williamson Ltd. at a cost of more than £100,000, will be ready for the opening to-morrow night. Glancing into the dressing room which will be used to-morrow night by Miss Margaret Banner- man, who will appear in "Our Betters,"
the visitor doubted that any leading woman would be persuaded to hang her frocks in such a dusty and unfurnished room. Before to-morrow night, however, something akin to the wand of a magician will have trans- formed the place, and the daintiest fabrics will repose in the leading woman's ward- robe without the slightest fear of in-
It is only now that the full beauty of line in the building is to be seen. On the site of the old Olympic Theatre, in which G. V. Brooke and other early players appeared when the State was in its in- fancy, a beautiful playhouse has arisen. The architecture is Italian, modelled upon a Florentine palace. Tapestry bricks, mor-
ticed in green, of which the facade is fashioned, give a pleasing, restful effect, eminently suited to Australian conditions. In the vestibule the furnishings are ad-
mirably conceived, and there, as in the theatre itself, wrought iron electric light fittings have been used with striking effect The candelabra above the edge of the dress circle are also of wrought iron, and were specially built in Spain. The theatre is shaped like a horseshoe. There are no supporting pillars, so that every occupant of a seat is assured of an uninterrupted view Everything possible has been pro- vided for the comfort of playgoers. A striking and unusual feature is the wooden roof, with its heavy painted beams. It is claimed that the Comedy is the only theatre in Australia with a thermostat, a small instrument which automatically regulates the temperature. The heating and venti-
lating systems are most elaborate. The new theatre is an elegant addition to the architecture of Melbourne.
The architects in association were Charles N. Hollinshed, A.R.I.B.A., and Albion H. Walkley, F.R.V.I.A.