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With the opening of the Mayfalr this month, Melbourne will possess more British theatrlea than any other city in Australia or New Zea
land. The Athenaeum was tbe flrat all-British theatre In the Empire. Since their rapid progress has been made. To-day there are IS theatres In Australasia devoted only to British productions. Sydney has two, Bris bane one, Perth two, Adelaide one, and New Zealand four. Toowoomba City Council has pass ed an ordinance that there Is to be no smoking In theatres. The well-known novel 'The Silence of Dean Maltland' It In active pre paration for the screen. John Long den, an English star, will appear as the Dean. The photography Is In the hands ot Captain Frank Hurley, of Antarctic fame, and tbe production by Cine Sound. Other Australian pro ductions to be seen on the screen tn the near future are 'Waltzing Matilda,' a Pat Hanna— Joe Vail comedy, 'Two Minutes' Silence' (drama), 'Secret ot The Bkles' (drama), 'Sear Old London' featur ing Claude Fleming, a travel feature, and 'SheepmattB,' featuring the Eng lish star actor and author. 'Sheep- mates' written by William Hatfleld, Is considered one of the finest Aus tralian novels yet written, and 'Old 'Bus' featuring Sir Charles Kingsford Smith.' 'The Squatter's Daughter' as a Btage production made a fortune for Bert Bailey and bis partners. The big push In Australian-made pictures can be dated back to 1918, when the Carrolls— E. J. and Dan put a big part of their resources into the production of films. A tew titles which may revive memories Include 'The Man From Kangaroo,' and 'The Shadow of Lightning Ridge,' both Wilfred Lucas productions ; and 'Singer Mick' and 'On Our Selec tion,' produced by Raymond Long ford. Said Dan Carroll at the time : 'It Is not our intention to make any one subject which will not be of such a standard that it cannot be market ed in every English-speaking country in the world. With this ambition in view we are proud enough to think that we are being of national service to our own beloved Australia.' It is to the credit of the Carroll brothers that they were the first Australians to sink real money Into Australian pro duction, probably owing to the enor mous business registered by them with an early version ot 'The Kelly
however. wer« utterly paled by the £68,000 aecured with 'The Ten Com mandments' at Sydney Prince Ed ward in later years. The only tender, to the City. Coun cil for the lease o! tbe southern por tion of tbe Queen Victoria Markets, Sydney, was submitted by J. C. Wil liamson Ltd. It was stated that the firm would convert the building Into a theatre and conditionally, offered £180 weekly. The company made Its offer on condition that the Council expended £60,000 on remodelling the structure to suit their requirements. Should the expenditure on recondi tioning exceed £60,000 the company will pay Interest on the balance at a rate not exceeding 4) per cent per ?tiniim The company also agreed to pay rent at the rate of £100 a week for the period from the commence ment of demolition until the building was available for theatre purposes. Tbe tender has been referred to tbe City Council officers for report, and it will then be considered by the fin ance committee. Big plans are being; formulated for the Beason ol Australian musical comedy to be launched at the Prin cess Theatre by Efftae Film Produc tions at Christmas. Several Important engagements have been made by F. W. Thring for the opening produc tion. 'Coltlt'B Inn,' which will bring back In association a number of artists who were together in earlier musical comedy successes. Gladys Mo&crteff, who has not been seen on the stage in Melbourne for some time, has been specially engaged to play the romantic role of Colllt's daughter, Ann. Robert Cbiaholm, who has -been alwent from Australia for several years, and has achiewd notable buc ceBS on the musical stage In both London and New York, Is returning under contract to Bfftee Films, and will have the role of the young Bri tish army officer, Lieutenant Lake, op posite Gladys Moncrleff. Mr. Cbiaholm sailed on October 28 from. London in the Oronsay, and will reach Mel bourne on December 1. Claude Flem ing, who will produce 'Collit's Inn' a&d will aleo play the role of the out
law neajie, roiuineu mj j&usbicuia vy the Mooltan. All three artists appear ed together In Australia in such popu lar success as 'The Maid of the Mountains,' 'Sybil' and 'The South ern Maid.' The leading comedy role will be in the hands of George Wal lace, who has a part In 'Collit's Inn,' which gives him plenty of scope for raising laughs. The music of 'Collit's Inn' was composed by Verney Monk (Mrs. Cyril Monk), and is said to be very tuneful. It includes some good numbers for both GladyB MoncrieS and Robert Chlsholm, one number called 'Australia,' being particularly inspiring.