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St Kilda’s Palais Theatre to be restored with original colour scheme
St Kilda’s Palais Theatre will be repainted in its original colour – a sand tone consistent with the building’s 1927 finish – as part of the $20 million restoration of the local landmark to secure its long-term future as a live performance venue.
The Palais Theatre was originally given a ‘copperas’ finish where an iron sulphate wash was applied to an external masonry render. The iron sulphate then reacted with the lime in the render creating a sandy, orange colour as it sets.
These sorts of finishes were often used in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries to save money, as they were cheaper than the paint finishes available at the time.
The Palais Theatre’s current off white colour dates to the mid twentieth century, around the time when the building was modified with a larger orchestra pit and additional dressing rooms to provide a venue for the Australian Elizabethan Theatre Trust.
The original copperas finish would have faded and become streaked leaving the building with a blotchy and uneven grey finish most likely motivating the decision to repaint.
Heritage Victoria has a policy of encouraging repainting in original schemes, where there is evidence to determine the original colour tones.
This can be seen in recent permits for Flinders Street Station, the dome of the State Library Victoria and at Footscray Railway Station.
The Palais Theatre restoration works will resolve the building’s critical maintenance and refurbishment issues, and include upgrades to the theatre’s electrical system, fire protection and hydraulic systems, along with repairs to the theatre’s exterior.
Commenting on the restoration, Victorian Minister for Creative Industries Martin Foley stated “the work currently being done will ensure it remains an important part of St Kilda’s culture and Victoria’s live music scene for many years to come.”
Image: The Palais Theatre in 2014 (top) and back in the 1930s (below).
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