The Cygnet Theatre

At the beginning of this year the iconic Cygnet Theatre in Como was under threat of closure. Due to changing technologies in the film industry, the 75 year old theatre had to upgrade it’s film projectors or close down.

Southern Gazette, 15 January 2013. Page 5.

Residents in the area spoke up and expressed their love for the theatre they visited in their younger days. Local resident and former Councillor Peter Best was particularly vocal and asked residents to help Save the Cygnet Cinema.

Southern Gazette, 29 January 2013 and 12 February 2013.

Within a few months, action was taken and the Stiles family pledged to do whatever it takes to keep the cinema’s doors open (Colin Stiles’ father, James, built the cinema in 1938).

Southern Gazette, 5 March 2013. Page 7.

Today, the Heritage Council announced the 24 heritage projects in WA to receive funding under the 2013-14 Heritage Grant Program. Amongst those grant recipients is the Cygnet Theatre.

Under the competitive Heritage Grant Program, funding of a total of $1.26 million is being contributed to private owners of State Registered locations to undertake urgent conservation works. Each grant allows for up to $100,000 and owners are required to match funds to the project. Click here to view details for all the successful projects in this round of funding.

CygnetTheatre-CommunityHeritageGrant2013-14We’re happy to hear that the Cinema will continue to live, in Como and in our hearts!

The Cygnet Cinema, c.1970.

The Cygnet Cinema, c.1970.

Building of the week – Cygnet Theatre

The Cygnet Theatre was built in 1938 for James Stiles, owner of the Grand Theatre Company. The theatre was originally named Como Theatre but changed to Cygnet Theatre in the 1960’s to associate with the Festival of Perth’s black swan logo.

The building was designed by William Leighton and built by W.H. Ralph and Sons and originally had an adjacent outdoor picture garden. Leighton is also known for other cinemas such as the Piccadilly Theatre & Arcade in Perth, Windsor Theatre in Nedlands and Astor Theatre in Mt Lawley.

Gaiety Theatre (corner Coode and Angelo Street, established 1926) and Hurlingham Theatre (Canning Highway, established 1933) were still operating when Como Theatre opened. Como Theatre was the most modern and up-to-date cinema in the district, screening talkies for the first time.

The style of the theatre is inter-war functionalist with art deco influences. It is listed on the state register of heritage places administered by the Heritage Council of WA.