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Save The Old Greek

first_img Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram The theatre building at 177 Bridge Road, Richmond has survived many changes. Originally named the Nation Picture Theatre it was originally an open-air cinema constructed in 1910. A permanent roof was added in 1911. It was rebuilt in the 1920s using a neo-Grecian style. Fashion decreed a major art deco style refurbishment in 1939, and it continued as general release motion picture theatre until 1961. At that point it was purchased by the Cosmopolitan Motion Pictures Group to add to their expanding Greek cinema circuit. By the late 1960s it had became one of their most successful theatres, regarded locally as The Greek Theatre. Owner Peter Yiannoudes screened both commercial releases and Greek language films, often with manual subtitles displayed with an overhead projector. It continued that way until 1983, when a fire in the stage area caused the theatre to shut its doors. By 1985 it had been converted into a live music venue known as The Old Greek Theatre. The popular venue hosted many local and international acts until the early 1990s when cinema entreprenuer Ralph Taranto purchased the site. He aimed to convert it into a twin movie theatre. The site was sold again before that project was realised, and it became a fashion clothing store. It then underwent a few more changes before it being relaunched as the whole foods Macro branch and later Thomas Dux, until it was finally listed on the Victorian Heritage Database with a Statement of Significance. Now developer Little Projects, teaming up with Rothelowman architects, has announced plans for a new13-storey construction, hosting 191 apartments to replace the historical building and the adjacent shops. The current buildings, scheduled to be demolished, are theoretically protected under the heritage overlay. The council does not appear to have made a decision on this project, however it will, as a rule, take objections up until the time a planning permit application is decided. “The top end of Bridge Road, Richmond was a focal point for live music as the Old Greek Theatre came alive after dark and created a bustling hub,” says Nikos Psaltopoulos, founder of ‘The Old Greek’ support page on Facebook.“The theatre has also functioned as a live music venue supporting hundreds of local and famous international bands performing in Melbourne.[When it was showing films] Greek Australian families congregated on the footpaths in front of the theatre each weekend in what had become a local social tradition. During a time before pay TV and the internet, a Saturday or Sunday at the pictures was the only opportunity for migrants to reconnect with their distant homeland. “Growing up in the wonderful 1970s, I have so many fond memories of this iconic Greek theatre that bring tears to my eyes,” says Richmond resident Betty Mihalakos.“We can’t be developing everything and knocking iconic buildings down like this backbone of our community carrying the cultural heritage of nearly three generations.” Psaltopoulos’s goal is to ensure that the landmark theatre site is not inappropriately developed, asking that any prospective building design respects and pays tribute to the social significance of the historic venue.“Whilst we understand the need for development, we urge Yarra Council and VCAT not to allow the destruction of the building’s facade,” he says.“Development should be respectful to the local community by retaining and preserving areas of historical significance for future generations.“The ‘Save The Greek’ team, along with your support, will fight to ensure Richmond’s significant social history is not lost.”*You can lodge an objection to the council by quoting application PLN14/0861 including the grounds for objection and your name and address, etc.last_img

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