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Monday, 14 December 2020

At the Coliseum deLuxe

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At the Coliseum deLuxe


In November 2019, Les Tod and Anthony Buckley’s feature length documentary about two North Sydney theatres premiered at Sydney’s Cremorne Orpheum, prior to a short season at Melbourne’s Nova and Sun theatres. An extended cinema release planned for 2020 was cut short following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. Les Tod is a Sydney theatre historian and member of Theatre Heritage Australia while Anthony Buckley is a noted film producer and editor.

Narrated by award-winning Australian film director Bruce Beresford, the documentary tells the story of the two theatres that stood side-by-side in Miller Street in North Sydney, both called the Coliseum.

The documenary places these building at the centre of a story that spans 150 years of entertainment in Australia, from skating and dancing to vaudeville and moving pictures.

A single photograph of the two Coliseums formed the basis for an elaborately detailed 3D recreation of the buildings’ interiors, gleaned from newspaper descriptions and architectural drawings.

The documentary which grew out of six years of research includes film footage not seen in public since its original release. Of particular interest to Theatre Heritage Australia is the sequence detailing the arrival of Maurice Sestier in Australia in 1896. As the representative of the Lumière brothers, he would team with H. Walter Barnett (of Falk Studios fame) to make and screen some of the first moving pictures seen in Australia.

At the Coliseum deLuxe is now available for purchase on DVD. As a bonus, also included on the DVD is the documentary Palace of Dreams, created in 1984 to celebrate the 75th anniversary of Sydney's magnificent State Theatre.

The DVD is available from Anthony Buckley Films for $35.00,


Read 1221 times Last modified on Wednesday, 01 June 2022
Elisabeth Kumm

Elisabeth is a founding member of the Victoria Theatres Trust. Her series Pets of the Public was a regular feature of On Stage from 1999 to 2005, looking at “forgotten” nineteenth century performers. She continues to contribute articles for the THA website, and from 2018 has been editor of the THA Newsletter. As a theatrical historian and biographer she assisted Viola Tait with her book on pantomime – Dames, Principal Boys…and All That (published by Macmillan in 2001) and also worked with her on her memoirs I Have a Song to Sing (published by THA in 2018). Elisabeth has also undertaken research for the Riley/Hailes Scrapbook and JCW Scene Books projects. Most recently she has been working on the Falk Studios album project including acting as editor of The Falk Studios book (published by THA in 2021).