State Theatre Proscenium Arch

State Theatre Main Staircase










Modern cinemas are noted for being small black boxes with the walls draped in cloth and low ceilings all for focussing on the front screen and a clearly hearing the dialogue broadcast from carefully positioned speakers. This was not so during the silent era. It was just stepping out from vaudeville and the theatre itself was as much part of the experience as what was on the screen – just look at the State Theatre in Sydney where our music came from. The films were accompanied by live music and live acts and sing a longs were interposed between films to rest patrons eyes. A whole show could go for hours and was run by the leader of the orchestra or MC in big theatres. I have been studying early cinema practice and working in the National Library on their collection of film music from the State Theatre Sydney to reproduce an authentic silent film experience for a modern audience. For this I have a film orchestra as would have been used in the time that has helped to develop the show. Many of these musicians are also expert in the jazz of that era as most comedies were accompanied by popular numbers I also have a Foley – sound effects person as was used in the big theatres. This experience is what we want to give modern people a touch of, Sydney cinema of the 1920s.