WALGATE and ELSWORTH: Architect
(SAB Feb 1931:35 tend; SAB Apr 1931:45 tend; Rennie 1978b:16)
It was renamed the Metro Cinema in c1956 when bought by MGM.
THE PLAZA, one of Cape Town's super picture palaces which seats eighteen hundred people, is situated in what will eventually be Cape Town's theatre district. It lies below the main portion of the city, to the left of Adderley Street, and near to the Broadcasting Studio and the Alhambra.
Its treatment of square lintelled openings faced with travertine Romano is very striking, with the word Plaza in massive letters illuminated. The balconies balustrade is in bronze and iron. Within the building the main vestibule has some unusual decorations, a glass mosaic panel composed of 50,000 tiny coloured fragments representing a stage scene on a silver and gold background.
From the upper lounge, a corner of which we illustrate, wide doorways lead to balcony and dress circle. Special attention has been paid to acoustics, certain sections of the walls being faced with acoustic plaster. The dominant note of colour in decorations being gold, with a scheme of horizontal lines, and walls that appear to be built up of sections of circular columns superimposed on one another, a similar method being employed on ceilings and at sides of proscenium, in artificial light the surface is given the appearance of beaten gold.
The seats are roomy and comfortable, and a very pleasing feature is the lighting carried out chiefly in tubular design connected by thin fluted mouldings in gold. Curtains of gold and silver screen the proscenium.
There is a special plant in the basement by which conditioned air is introduced and vitiated air expelled. Vacuum cleaners installed in a special manner allow the work of cleaning the theatre to be executed easily and quickly.
These notes were last edited on 2021 12 10
All truncated references not fully cited below are those of Joanna Walker's original text and cited in full in the 'Bibliography' entry of the Lexicon.
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