Artists stand up for the Palais Theatre

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image of Peter Bain Hogg holding ilovemypalais sign image of Julia Zemiro holding ilovemypalais signRich with art deco detail and long history of local and international musicians taking to the stage, the Palais Theatre is thought of as a historic gem. First established in the 20s, time has withered the site and now requires major restoration.

It is one of the few examples we have of art deco architecture in the country. In terms of seating capacity, the Palais is Australia’s largest theatre.
With it’s rich past behind the site, now concerns have been raised about it’s future. Will it be demolished?

St Kilda’s iconic theatre is now 87-year-old, and major repairs to the building are required, should the business continue to run, safely. The entire exterior needs to be resealed. Currently, scaffolding surrounds the exterior of the theatre, to ensure the public’s safety.

Repairs required include replacement of all windows, all electrical infrastructures must be upgraded and fire protection works must be addressed. The cost of repairs comes to approximately $40 million. Recently, Port Phillip Council agreed to put forward $7.5 million, if the state pays $32.5 million.

Upon hearing the news that the Palais may shut down, Australian entertainers are taking to social media, to express their support for St Kilda’s icon. A website titled ilovemypalais, has been established allowing performing artists and the wider community to spread the word. The project is also set up through Twitter and Facebook.

The campaign wishes to raise awareness to the issue in order to bring it to the local Council’s attention. The Victorian State Government owns the theatre. The City of Port Phillip has managed the theatre’s asset. ilovemypailais supporters are unhappy with the lack of effort being made to maintain the site.

Aside from holding sentimental value, the Palais is beneficial to our economy; each year the theatre attracts $3.4 million directly and $34 million in visitor spending. Currently, it supports 200 full-time workers. Jobs will be lost should the Theatre shut down. Victoria is already confronted by an employment crisis. We will see many others lose their jobs if repairs to the Palais do not go ahead.

Those who feel concerned are encouraged to write to elected politicians and candidates. A more playful alternative is for community members to upload a “Selfie” (a modern day self-portrait) as a means of support to the campaign.
Tina Arena has posted an image of herself backstage of the Palais.

Tex Perkins is on the committee. He intends to run for an independent candidate position in the seat of Albert Park, in the up coming election. One of his goals is to ensure that the Palais carries on.

Campaign members also include Molly Meldrum, Dave Hughes, Magda Szubanski and Paul Kelly, just to name a few. Television’s Rockquiz producer Peter Bain-Hogg is also on board with the project (the show is hosted within the Palais).

According to ilovemypalais Facebook page, during the recent Rolling stones concert held in Melbourne, Mick Jagger mentioned the Palais, and the efforts being put in to save it whilst on stage.


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