Hon John Castrilli MLA

Hon John Castrilli MLA

Former Minister for Local Government; Heritage; Citizenship and Multicultural Interests

    ‘Jewel’ shines on State Heritage Register

    21/10/2011 12:00 AM
    • Bijou Theatre enters the State Register of Heritage Places
    • State’s oldest theatre continues to entertain

    Bijou Theatre in Esperance, the oldest purpose-built theatre still operating in Western Australia, has entered the State Register of Heritage Places.

    The theatre was built in six weeks in 1896 and is a centerpiece of the town’s history.

    Heritage Minister John Castrilli said Bijou was also the State’s only known 1890s theatre of timber and corrugated iron construction.

    “The word Bijou means ‘jewel’ in French and this theatre certainly is a very precious building,” Mr Castrilli said.

    The Minister said the Bijou had been a very active social and entertainment centre for the community and continued to be used for balls, weddings, school concerts and roller skating

    “For many years it operated as the town cinema and as a meeting place for the Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes before falling into disuse in the late 1960s,” he said.

    “The Esperance Theatre Guild took over the building in 1971, breathing new life into it by undertaking extensive renovation work and hosting regular performances.

    “Many volunteers have contributed their time to Bijou Theatre and their efforts have been recognised with its entry in the State Heritage Register.”

    Eyre MLA Dr Graham Jacobs also welcomed the State’s protection of the Bijou Theatre and its appropriate recognition as a building of significant heritage value.

    Fact File
    • Bijou Theatre is not only the State’s oldest theatre, it is also the third oldest in Australia.
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