An extraordinary cinema, with ceilings indirectly lit in four colours, The Capitol (formerly the Capitol Theatre) was designed by Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony Griffin in ornate Chicago-gothic style.
The cinema opened in 1924, and the dramatic lighting was used in conjunction with the orchestral scores during the early silent film era. It added drama for the filmgoer, and remains a spectacular sight today.
The site was bought by RMIT University in 1999. Now, thanks to a huge refurbishment, the 580-seat Capitol Theatre lives on. But it’s no longer just a cinema. RMIT is billing the Capitol as a destination for culture, education and innovation, with the goal to host more than 500 events, festivals and live performances every year.
RMIT students will have access to the theatre’s new facilities and technologies, plus the space is open to non-students for public screenings and events.
The Capitol is also playing host to screenings run by ACMI, while ACMI undergoes its own massive $40 million refurbishment.