Regent Theatre, Mudgee
Opened in 1935, this classic Art Deco theatre housed up to almost 700 patrons in its stalls with space for another 300 on the upper balcony. Designed by architect George Newton Kenworthy, the historical building was placed on the National Trust Register in September 1993 and by 2009 the cinema closed its doors forever.
Located in the central western NSW township of Mudgee, the facility acted as an entertainment hub for the local community. Supposedly designed and styled to replicate Sydney's Regent Theatre, the complex was once the biggest in Australia and boasted the largest screen.
Adorned with all the trademarks of the Art Deco era, its ornate features and original light fittings remain intact after years of non-use. Upstairs, the building’s narrow and somewhat secret attic-like projection room is filled with the vintage relics of cinematic days long since passed. Containing two 1972 carbon arc projectors, an additonal 16mm projector, original lighting board, film reels, lamps, fuses and a number of other retro knick-knacks, this long, dank room is now home to a community of pigeons who have found a safe haven in this silent upper space. Down below, rows of cracked leather seats align the dark cobweb covered auditorium.
Standing in the Regent Theatre today is an autumnal experience where the narrative has leapt from the screen and the visual drama now manifests in the real-time environment. Once providing a window to the outer world throughout Australia’s wartime period and beyond, this timeless theatre is a significant structure that not only architecturally documents Australia’s flirtation with the Art Deco era, but also houses an abundance of generational memories.