The East End Theatre District is a precinct within the Melbourne city centre, and is bounded by Spring Street, Flinders Street, Swanston Street, and Lonsdale Street. The district is home to six of Melbourne's major theatres, including the Princess Theatre, Her Majesty's Theatre, and the Regent Theatre. These theatres mostly house commercial productions of musicals, plays and other events, in contrast with the Southbank Arts Precinct over the Yarra River which focuses on publicly funded companies.
The East End of Melbourne was effectively formed by the Hoddle Grid, with Elizabeth Street the dividing line between east and west. The Hoddle Grid was laid out in 1837, following the founding of the Melbourne settlement in 1835.
Melbourne's first theatre, the Pavilion, was constructed adjacent to the Eagle Tavern on Bourke Street in 1842. The second theatre, the Queen's, was also constructed as part of a pub, however it was, and remains, the only major theatre in Melbourne's CBD built west of Elizabeth Street.
Six surviving theatres exist within the East End:
Other major entertainment venues in the East End Theatre District include live music venues 170 Russell and Max Watt's House of Music, and the Capitol Theatre, Hoyts Melbourne Central, Palace Kino, Chinatown and ACMI cinemas.
|Athenaeum Theatre||AT Management||188 Collins Street||880||Comedy and theatre venue||Various||–||–|
|Comedy Theatre||Marriner Group||Cnr Exhibition & Lonsdale Streets||1003||Theatre venue||Various||-||-|
|Forum Melbourne||Marriner Group||Cnr Flinders & Russell Streets||2000||Concert and comedy venue||Various||–||–|
|Her Majesty's Theatre||Hayden Attractions||219 Exhibition Street||1700||Frozen (musical)||Musical||25 June 2021||-|
|Princess Theatre||Marriner Group||163 Spring Street||1452||Harry Potter and the Cursed Child||Play||18 January 2019||Open-ended|
|Regent Theatre||Marriner Group||191 Collins Street||2141||Moulin Rouge (musical)||Musical||13 August 2021||-|
The East End has been home to over 25 different theatres since 1841. Some of the major former theatres are listed below.
|Theatre||Address||Year Opened||Year Closed||Year Rebuilt||Year Closed|
|Pavilion||Cnr Swanston St and Bourke St||1841||1845||-||-|
|Queen's*||Cnr Queen St and Little Bourke St||1845||1856||-||-|
|Theatre Royal||232 Bourke St||1855||1872||1872||1933|
|Olympic (the "Iron Pot")||Cnr Exhibition St and Lonsdale St||1855||1860||-||-|
|Haymarket||133 Bourke St||1862||1871||-||-|
|Prince of Wales Opera House||249 Bourke St||1872||1898||-||-|
|Bijou||225 Bourke St||1876||1889||1890||1934|
|Gaiety||217 Bourke St||1890||1934|
|Tivoli||249 Bourke St||1901||1966||-||-|
|King's||131 Russell St||1908||1976||-||-|
|Palace||20 Bourke St||1912||2014||-||-|
|Auditorium||171 Collins St||1913||1934||-||-|
|Total||170 Russell St||1965||1978|
|Playbox||55 Exhibition St||1969||1984||-||-|
|Russell Street||19-25 Russell St||1955||1994|
In July 2016, the East End Theatre District was reported to have made an economic contribution of $692 million, and an economic impact of $226 million, to the state of Victoria.