Source: Australian Variety Theatre Archive
Fullers' Theatres i(185 works by) (Organisation) assertion
Born: Established: 1914 Sydney, New South Wales, ; Died: Ceased: 1950 Sydney, New South Wales,
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Benjamin Fuller and John Fuller Jnr began their entrepreneurial careers in New Zealand under the tutelage of their father, John Fuller Snr, who began operating his own family variety company in 1894. His sons gradually took over the running of the business, which also included film exhibition, and in 1912 finally established a permanent base in Australia when they bought out James Brennan's business (it was known for several years as Brennan-Fuller, however). Two years later the brothers founded John Fuller and Sons Ltd (aka Fullers Theatres Ltd).

Although known mostly for its vaudeville circuit, the firm occasionally presented legitimate theatre (including Italian Grand opera), with this being especially prominent at the Majestic Theatre, Newtown, which they built in 1917. Two other prominent Fullers theatres were the National (Sydney) later known as Fullers' Theatre, and the Bijou (Melbourne). From 1915 through until the end of the 1920s the company played a key role in promoting the revusical - an Australian variety genre made popular around the country by iconic comedians like Stiffy and Mo, Bert Le Blanc, Jim Gerald and George Wallace.

The Fullers were in partnership with Hugh J. Ward between 1923 and 1926, during which time they expanded into musical comedy. The company was able to survive the Depression not only because it had installed 'talkies' apparatus in most of its theatres, thereby reducing the more expensive overheads associated with live theatre, but also because it had freehold ownership most of its theatres in the capital cities.

In 1934 the brothers divided the company's assets. John retained control of the St James Theatre (Syd) but turned his attention to real estate. Although Sir Benjamin sold off his New Zealand interests, and remained governing director of Fullers' Theatres Ltd, he became more interested in legitimate theatre. From 1939 he was associated with Garnet Carroll and from 1946 was governing director of the Carroll-Fuller Theatre Company. In 1950 the picture interests of Fullers' Theatres Ltd and Hoyts Theatres Ltd were merged.

[Source: Australian Variety Theatre Archive]


  • 1. IMAGES:

    The following images are related to either Fullers' Theatres productions and/or performers, as well as members of the Fuller family, excluding Benjamin and John Fuller Jnr (see their entries in AustLit for additional photographs). All images are from the Nat Phillips Collection, held by the Fryer Library and available on-line through The University of Queensland's eSpace Digital Repository.

  • Entries connected with this record have been sourced from on-going historical research into Australian-written music theatre and film being conducted by Dr Clay Djubal.
Last amended 4 Feb 2014 11:56:02