AustLit logo
Twelfth Night Theatre production of 'A House is Built,' Albert Hall, Brisbane, 1949.
Twelfth Night Theatre
(Status : Public)
  • Venues and Locations

    The Twelfth Night Theatre company began its illustrious history located in Empire Chambers in Brisbane's CBD with a teaching studio, rehearsal room and a seating capacity of 104 (Batchelor 9). In 1941, they leased from Miss Dorothy Brockway the gymnasium her father built her at the back of property on 51 Wickham Terrace (Batchelor 11). In the same year, the company was the first to put on a play at Albert Hall, which adds to the history of the amateur theatre (Batchelor 12). This was also the venue in which the little theatre produced its first Australian play titled A House is Built (1949) by Eunice Hanger. Later, in 1948, the company leased a large two-storey building again on Wickham Terrace. The upper floor became a rehearsal and play-reading space while the lower housed speech teachers and their studios (Radbourne 226).

    Gowrie Hall on Wickham Terrace was acquired in 1956. This was a church hall that was transformed into the company’s own personal theatre which complemented Albert Hall, where the major productions were staged (Radbourne 242). Radbourne (243) marked this as a “milestone in the history of the Little Theatre Movement in Brisbane.” The upper area converted to a small theatre space, and the lower area for speech-training studios and dressing rooms (Radbourne 243). Felgate anticipated staging all productions in this hall in the future and, by 1966, this came to be (Radbourne 244). However, the discovery that road works under the Wilbur Smith Plan would pass through this hall led to the company purchasing land in Bowen Hills to build a new theatre (Batchelor).

    Newspaper image of Joan Whalley, director of Twelfth Night Theatre, 1969. "Tax aid sought for new theatre." The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995) 21 Mar 1969: 12. Web. 25 Nov 2014 .
  • In 1962, Joan Whalley, a dynamic producer and actor, took over as director of Twelfth Night following Felgate’s retirement. Felgate highlighted, “I had made up my mind that 25 years was a long time for one person to be directing in the theatre” (Batchelor 12). Also, with this change, the time had come for the company to start thinking of "bricks and mortar as well as people" (Batchelor 12). Whalley therefore drove on with the plan for building Twelfth Night’s own theatre at Bowen Hills and found a brilliant architect named Vitaly Gzell (Batchelor 14). Together, they planned a centre containing a theatre, club and restaurant (Batchelor 14). At the same time, a grand attempt to draw the leading little theatre groups, being Repertory, Twelfth Night and the Arts Theatre, into a harmonious coalition to form the new state professional company quickly disintegrated as Twelfth Night had professional plans of its own (Batchelor 39).

    To view a map of the Twelfth Night Theatre's history, click on the map below.

  • Map of Twelfth Night Theatre Venues

    Google map of Twelfth Night Theatre locations. Click to go to map.
    Google map

You might be interested in...