By Mark McDonald
The Roxy Theatre, Maidstone c.1943
Showcasing the exquisite Art Deco facade of the Roxy Theatre, located at 51 Ballarat Road in Maidstone.
Opening its doors amidst the turmoil of war in 1943, the Roxy Theatre was a beacon of entertainment for the community. Crowds flocked to witness the enchanting world of cinema, with the opening night featuring James Cagney in the iconic film ‘Yankee Doodle Dandy.’
The Roxy Theatre offered an immersive cinematic experience with its unique stadium-style seating, including 582 seats in the stalls and an additional 182 seats in the raised section, ensuring a perfect view of the silver screen. By late 1954, in a further progressive move to increase patronage, the owners installed the latest in screen technology with ‘Cinemascope’, one of only four of its kind in Melbourne.
Yet, as television invaded homes by 1956, the landscape of entertainment shifted irreversibly. The once-vibrant theatres lost their lustre and sadly the Roxy Theatre met its final curtain call on March 5, 1958. Today, only faint memories remain as the site where this architectural gem once stood has been reduced to a service station.