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Auckland Chinese Hall Incorporated 1960

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The organisation fundraised to purchase the old State Theatre in Symonds Street, Auckland.

From July 1930, the Lyric took on talkies. It closed in 1933 to modernise and reopen from that December as the State Theatre. Kerridge-Odeon finally closed the theatre 30 March 1960, and sold it to the members of the Chinese community in Auckland, but with a covenant that they were not allowed to show movies there on a commercial basis for 10 years. During that time, Phil Warren organised dances, two nights a week on Fridays and Saturdays, and dubbed the hall the Oriental Ballroom. The Chinese Film Committee, were finally able to start the screening of films in both Mandarin and Cantonese from 1971, but this was shortlived.

In 1972, the theatre reopened once again for the showing of general films under Graham Kahn. Until 1980, other cinema operators would work under the Chinese group's film showing license, but after that, that was it for the Lyric/State. For a time, according to Grefstad, it was a skating rink (Rainbow Roller Skating Rink), interesting as there had been cases of former roller skating rinks in the early days being converted into picture theatres ...

But, by 1983, it was all over. In disrepair, after use as a sleepout by the homeless and street kids, the Lyric was demolished. In its place today, a block of single-storey retail shops.

reference - from Lisa Truttman - Timespanner, Wednesday, July 27, 2011. Upper Symonds Street and the Lyric Theatre, photographed 10 January 1928 by James D Richardson.  Ref 4-2181,  Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries. By kind permission.


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Auckland Chinese Hall Incorporated 1960

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