Heritage & Arts

Paragon Theatre

Location

11 McNamara St, Queenstown

About

Built at a cost of over 5000 pounds by the Paragon Picture Co Pty Ltd as a "talkie theatre".

The Paragon Theatre officially opened on October 28, 1933 and a capacity house of 1150 were enthralled by Mae West in "She Done Him Wrong" and Edward G. Robinson in "Tiger Shark."

The theatre enjoyed capacity crowds for decades until the emergence of home video hire in the late 1970's. Patronage declined to the point where the theatre closed its doors in 1985. Soon after, the building was gutted of all ground floor seating and more than half of the dress circle was demolished to house an indoor cricket stadium. Within a few years, that also closed and the theatre was abandoned and left to its fate. 

In 2003 Dr Alex Stevenson took on the mammoth task of restoring the building to reopen it as a 60 seat luxury cinema. Alex, and later new wife Alice, spent 4 years on restoration, including hand painting the entire floor to resemble marble.

In 2012 they returned to their home country of Zimbabwe passing the mantle on to Francisco Navidad but with the decline in Queenstown's population "Cisco" took the tough decision to close the Paragon in 2014 and put the property back on the market.

In July 2017 Joy Chappel and Anthony Coulson begann their journey to return this gem of Queenstown's history into a thriving entertainment venue for locals and visitors to enjoy once again.