First completed in 1904, His Majesty’s Theatre was the largest of its kind in Australia at the time.
The Edwardian Baroque style building (by William G Wolf) was the first reinforced concrete building in Perth and, at time of opening, seated over 2500 people under a retractable dome ceiling. The complex was originally home to a 65-room hotel alongside the Theatre.
The building underwent many alterations in the following half century and, following several years with an uncertain future and a public campaign to save it, was bought by the Government of Western Australia in 1977. Around this time the Hotel portion of the building was renovated to provide a home to the West Australian Ballet and West Australian Opera companies, both of which perform regularly in the venue.
In 1978 His Majesty’s was entered onto the Register of the National Estate. On 8 April 1994, it was included as an interim entry on the Western Australian Register of Heritage Places, before receiving a permanent entry on 16 December 1994. The theatre was named a State Heritage Icon in December 2004.
In 2017, Taylor Robinson Chaney Broderick Architects were engaged by The Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries and The Perth Theatre Trust to upgrade the existing front of house facilities, most of which were rather tired 1970’s renovations. The upgrades include the basement level museum bar, ground floor bar and restaurant, box office, first floor dress circle Bar and event space, new commercial grade kitchens/amenities across basement and ground levels and two new connecting stairs between the three levels.
The high-level heritage significance of the original building fabric required a design approach that was sensitive to The Maj’s rich history. TRCB worked closely with Griffith’s Heritage Architects early on in the design phase to ensure that as little as possible of the original 1904 building fabric would be impacted and that the only demolition would be of the later additions with limited heritage significance. The original hand-crafted Edwardian Jarrah bar which had previously been relocated to the ground floor was carefully dismantled and reassembled in its new home on the first floor.
This sensitivity to the original building has extended to the selection of finishes throughout the three levels. Rich textures, leather finish stone, brass, plush fabrics, solid oak parquet floor and regal colours all work together to complement the existing interiors while maintaining the sense of opulence that The Maj is famous for. Bespoke steel framed glazing and fluted glass shopfronts have been installed along the Hay Street frontage and the original entrance to the box office on the corner of Hay and King has been reinstated to once again address the historic street corner.