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Step back in time with the latest exhibition at Her Majesty’s Theatre

Monday, 20 November 2023

A new exhibition exploring Adelaide’s rich history of theatres opens today to celebrate the 110th Birthday of the iconic Her Majesty’s Theatre.

The exhibition titled Adelaide Theatres: Then and Now reflects on over 180 years of local theatres and will be on display in the Ian and Pamela Wall Gallery, located on the rooftop level of Her Majesty’s Theatre. More than 35 theatres are celebrated through old photographs and programmes, including those of famed theatre manager and entrepreneur J.C. Williamson.

In a trip down memory lane, the exhibition explores old and new theatres including images from Adelaide’s first purpose-built theatre in Gilles Arcade, Queen’s Theatre, in 1840. Of the 35 theatres on display, 3 still exist – Her Majesty’s Theatre, Adelaide Festival Theatre and Queen’s Theatre.

Built in 1913, Her Majesty’s Theatre is one of the last remaining examples in Australia of the famous chain of Tivoli theatres. Having played a significant role in Australia’s theatre and entertainment history, Her Majesty’s Theatre has survived 2 world wars, the great-depression and 2 pandemics.

It recently underwent a stunning redevelopment, partly thanks to a public fundraising campaign, and was unveiled in June 2020 to rave reviews. Located on Grote Street in the Chinatown Precinct, The Maj is managed by Adelaide Festival Centre, making her part of the family that is the heart of the arts in South Australia. 

The Maj has showcased many big names across its 110 years including Luciano Pavarotti, Maggie Smith, Chris Isaak, Archie Roach, Alan Cumming, Barry Humphries AC CBE, and Paul Kelly to name a few. Her Majesty’s Theatre ambassadors include Robyn Archer AO, Greta Bradman, David Campbell OAM, Kate Ceberano AM, Ali McGregor, Todd McKenney, Rhonda Burchmore OAM and Meow Meow.

The Maj has housed blockbuster productions such as SIX The Musical, The Mousetrap and many more. Upcoming theatre performances include State Opera South Australia’s The Marriage of Figaro, family show Alice in Wonderland and hit musical Elvis: A Musical Revolution. Patrons can get an exclusive behind the scenes look of Her Majesty’s Theatre with guided tours now available.

The Ian and Pamela Wall Gallery is the designated home to Adelaide Festival Centre’s Performing Arts Collection. The collection is now one of the most comprehensive performing arts collections in Australia with over 100,000 objects.

Adelaide Theatres: Then and Now curator Sarah Northcott: “Adelaide Theatres: Then and Now highlights Adelaide’s remarkable theatre history spanning 185 years, beginning with Adelaide’s first makeshift theatres, and taking us up to a celebration of Her Majesty’s Theatre’s 110th birthday.”

Adelaide Festival Centre CEO & Artistic Director Douglas Gautier AM: “In addition to Adelaide Festival Centre’s 50th anniversary celebrations this year, we are delighted to honour the iconic Her Majesty’s Theatre turning 110. We hope audiences continue to enjoy the beauty of this beloved theatre, as it shines brighter than ever.” 

The exhibition will be open to the public during Her Majesty’s Theatre performance times.

For more information visit

High-res images of Her Majesty’s Theatre available here.

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