Pavilion Theatre is one of the oldest theatres in Castle Hill, Australia. It has been hosting shows since 1882 and still does today. The theatre sits on a hill overlooking beautiful views of the Parramatta River and Western Sydney. Pavilion Theatre is worth seeing because it offers something for everyone; from comedies to dramas, musicals to operas, you’ll find what you’re looking for at this historic location!
The theater was originally built in 1883 by George Coppin, who had been running the Royal Victoria Theatre on Sydney’s Broadway. It was erected as one of Australia’s first purpose-built theatres with construction costs reaching £30,000 pounds – an immense sum at the time. The site was chosen as it had previously been the home of a small opera house built by Coppin and his partner, J.C. Williamson in 1878-79 that burned down during renovations to create Australia’s first ever Sydney Opera House (an event which is commemorated inside Pavilion Theatre).
It opened on 22 December 1882 with a lavish production of “The Shaughraun” starring George Rignold. Built in the Second Empire style, much like Sydney’s General Post Office at that time, Pavilion Theatre is decorated inside and out with cast iron lacework originally imported from France but now made locally by Giffiths Ironworks which continues to occupy one side of the site.
Pavilion Theatre hosted some significant moments in Australian history such as when it was used for funerals for Prime Ministers Joseph Cook (1914) and Billy Hughes (1952); also hosting important events such as anti-conscription rallies during World War I; speeches on behalf of women winning the vote in 1902 and later protests against Australia entering Vietnam War.
In 1988 after being threatened with demolition for redevelopment as an office building or hotel, it was instead restored to its original glory at a cost of $14 million dollars by architects Clive Lucas Stapleton Partners (now part of Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp). The theatre reopened again in 1990 to host performances ranging from Shakespearean drama “Othello” starring Terence Donovan through to rock musicals like Soundgarden’s 1993 concert ‘Unplugged’.
Following this project, other work has been carried out to develop and restore parts of the theatre such as dressing rooms and backstage areas. Today, Pavilion Theatre offers a rich programme of theatre and musical performances. You can visit Castle Hill today and find out what is on.