150-162 Flinders Street, Melbourne 3000.
- Built in 1928.
- Designed by John Eberson and Bohringer, Taylor & Johnson.
- Listed on the Victorian Heritage Register (no. 602820)
The Forum Theatre was formerly known as the State Theatre and briefly one section known as the Rapallo Cinema. It was built at the climax of the boom years in cinema construction, and was operated by Union Theatres. It had the largest capacity of any cinema in the country with 3371 seats.
The Forum is probably one of Australia's finest "atmospheric" cinemas, and this really cannot be fully appreciated without visiting the theatre. Upon entry, the foyer is designed like a walled garden, complete with blue sky and twinkling stars. The cinema section (now a stage for live performances) continues this theme, and it is difficult to believe one is not sitting in a fantastic walled Roman garden. The interior incorporates elements of Italian medieval, Renaissance Baroque and Spanish Mission styles combined with bold classical Roman and Renaissance architectural forms to create a lush, impossibly exotic atmosphere. Sadly, the Forum is the only surviving atmospheric cinema in Victoria.
In 1962, the Forum split into a concert hall and picture theatre, although this was done tastefully to preserve the interior decorations.
While the interior is well preserved, the exterior is quite shabby (albeit intact) and in desperate need of paint and restoration.