Designed in 1929 by Melbourne architect, Charles ‘Neville’ Hollinshed, it was officially opened on 4 July 1930. Cinema patronage reduced from the 1960s, and the theatre deteriorated markedly. This meant it was left with its authentic 1930s features intact.
The building’s concrete façade is a good example of the ‘moderne’ or early Art Deco style. In contrast, its elaborate interior was inspired by the ‘picture palace’ era of the 1920s and 1930s – combined with the financial restrictions of the Depression. The building’s mix of styles, from Baroque, to Persian and neo-classical, and its sense of opulence, was created using faux-gold and similar materials, while the substantial marble staircase (in fact marble on the outer edges and wood over concrete beneath the carpet) and the detailed paintwork throughout, all add to the theatre’s carefully constructed impression of grandeur.
Following a $13.13 million restoration, the 1,393-seat theatre reopened as the Regent on Broadway, on 1 May 1998.