Greens say Minister should protect Palace / Metro including its unique, historic interior


Greens today have called on the government to protect the Palace Theatre and to prevent further destruction to its irreplaceable interior period fixtures.

“In parliament yesterday, in answer to a question from the Member for Melbourne, Ellen Sandell, the Minister implied that because significant works have been undertaken inside the venue, it is not worth protecting the historic interior and that the external facade is all that is important.
“This is not true as I pointed out in parliament in December 2013. The interior of the Palace / Metro is impressive and unique and has always been admired,” said Sue Pennicuik, Greens spokesperson for the Arts.
”Despite alterations over the years, including the recent removal of some period features by the current owner, the interior still retains its original plan form, including its famous balconies, staircases and its amphitheatre shape, which are a marker of the building's long history and social heritage and which are still intact.

As the National Trust has said, after 100 years, the Palace Theatre is still a viable entertainment venue. In previous incarnations as Brennan’s Amphitheatre, the Apollo Theatre, the Metro Theatre and Metro Nightclub, the building has hosted many types of cinematic, dramatic and musical theatre, and until recently was a prominent live music venue with a capacity of 1850 persons that hosted many local and international acts. The Palace remains a structurally-sound theatre with an auditorium and balconies, stage area, lobby, stairs and ancillary theatre spaces that warrant protection.

“We are in danger of losing this rare, much loved and historic venue that has chronicled part of Victoria’s cultural history over more than a century because the heritage and planning mechanisms have so far failed to protect it.
“It is not good enough for the Government to just let this happen.
“The Minister, the government and everyone involved needs to act now to preserve this precious part of Melbourne's cultural and live music history,” Ms Pennicuik said.
For further comment: Sue Pennicuik 03 9530 8399