Regent Theatre

The Regent Theatre, Sydney in 1983 prior to its demolition. (Image source: City of Sydney Archives)
Verity and Meredith Burgmann, Green bans, red union: the saving of a city, 1998; Anne Summers (et al.), The little green book: facts on the green bans, 1973; Porter Faulkner, Lost Sydney: Regent Theatre, 2011, <>.

Research provided by Isabella Maher

On 31 October 1972, the Regent Theatre in George Street was auctioned off by JC Williamson Theatres Ltd for a mere $4,550,000 – well below its reserve price. The auction’s failure was attributed to Jack Mundey and the BLF for placing a green ban on the site the day before. This was done at the request of the Actors Equity and the Save the Regent Theatre Committee who hoped, if they could not save the original theatre, to secure a replacement; much like what happened with the Theatre Royal. The BLF conceded their call, declaring that a theatre of comparable proportions must be built on the site if the Regent could not be preserved. They were working in defence of Sydney’s rapidly dwindling cultural facilities. All major entertainment unions declared their desire to save the Regent and support for the fight was also publicly indicated by 122 actors and musicians.

The ban remained in place long enough to frustrate all initial demolition plans and in 1981 a permanent conservation order for the Regent Theatre was approved, which ensured the preservation of its facade, entrance vestibule, upper foyer, and grand stairway. It continued to function as a live performance venue until 26 May 1984. Unfortunately, the conservation order was lifted in 1988 and demolition of the Regent Theatre began in 1990, under the direction of property magnate Leon Fink. Many of its fittings were sold at auction and can be found in several locations across Sydney and NSW. Due to a crash in Sydney’s property market, the site sat vacant and neglected until 2006 when construction for a new high rise building finally commenced.


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