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, https://buckleyfilms.com.au