St Kilda’s Palais Theatre will be repainted in its original colour – a sand tone consistent with the building’s 1927 finish – as part of the $20 million restoration of the local icon to secure its long-term future as a live performance venue.
The Palais Theatre was originally given a copperas finish where an iron sulphate wash is applied to an external masonry render. The iron sulphate reacts with lime in the render creating a sandy, orange colour as it sets. These sorts of finishes were often used in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries to save money, as they were cheaper than the paint finishes available at the time.
Heritage Victoria has a policy of encouraging repainting in original schemes, where there is evidence to determine the original colour tones. This can be seen in recent permits for Flinders Street Station, the dome of the State Library Victoria and at Footscray Railway Station.
The Palais Theatre’s current off white colour dates to the mid twentieth century, around the time when the building was modified with a larger orchestra pit and additional dressing rooms to provide a venue for the Australian Elizabethan Theatre Trust.
The original copperas finish would have faded and become streaked leaving the building with a blotchy and uneven grey finish most likely motivating the decision to repaint. The Palais Theatre restoration works will resolve the building’s critical maintenance and refurbishment issues, and include upgrades to the theatre’s electrical system, fire protection and hydraulic systems, along with repairs to the theatre’s exterior.
“We promised to save the Palais – and we’re doing just that. The work currently being done will ensure it remains an important part of St Kilda’s culture and Victoria’s live music scene for many years to come,” said Minister for Creative Industries and Member for Albert Park Martin Foley.
“For the last two years, we’ve delivered on the things that matter most to people – creating more jobs by ensuring we have great facilities to host only the best cultural events.”
Image: Artist’s Impression of proposed 1929 colour scheme of the Palais Theatre