The Capitol

The Capitol is one of the world’s most iconic cinemas, possessing all the charm, hypnotic charisma and commanding authority that Fellini had thought was lost from the cinema-going experience.

History

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The best cinema that was ever built or ever likely to be built.

- Robin Boyd

The Capitol was originally built in 1924 by celebrated architects Marion Mahony Griffin and Walter Burley Griffin. The Chicago-Gothic-style theatre, then known as the ‘Capitol Theatre’, is considered their greatest interior design work. The Capitol was the first extravagant ‘picture palace’ to be built in Victoria. It originally seated over 2137 people through sweeping stalls and circles, and today the updated capacity is still a grand 574.

The theatricality of the movie-going experience is made more spectacular by the unique light displays in the crystalline ceiling, often choreographed to play in time with live orchestral scores during the silent film era. Originally lit by incandescent globes in red, yellow, blue and green, today the ceiling displays are controlled by a digital matrix of hundreds of LED bulbs and data points – to the same utterly mesmerising effect.

The Capitol has been through several iterations of upgrades and modifications since 1924. RMIT University purchased the Theatre in 1999, running lectures during the day and hiring out to festivals on evenings and weekends. By 2014 it had fallen into critical disrepair, and the University closed the Theatre’s doors, readying it for the makeover that you see today. RMIT worked with Six Degrees Architects to restore The Capitol to its former glory and make considerable upgrades to the building - reopening in mid-2019.

Today we’re a community of culture lovers, not only focused on our first love – cinema – but on new media, creative arts, screen technology, design, performance and LED-powered, eyes-open dreams. For forthcoming events at The Capitol presented by RMIT and alongside our partners, please see below.

Upcoming events

The Capitol is available to hire for screenings, performances, talks, conferences, festivals, meetings and private events.

Please get in touch via venues@rmit.edu.au for:

  • Venue booking enquiries
  • General questions
  • Media enquiries
  • Location shoots

Entrances
Enter The Capitol Arcade from Swanston Street or Howie Place. Halfway through the arcade there’s a lift (between the jeweller and the dry cleaner). Take the lift up to The Capitol’s Foyer level. From the Foyer, a separate lift provides access to the Theatre, Salon and Lounge levels inside The Capitol.

 

Parking
There are a number of accessible parking spaces located on Little Collins and surrounding streets. Parking is also available at a number of nearby car parks, including Fed Square car park, which has accessible car spaces on each level.

 

Toilets
Wheelchair accessible amenities are located on the Foyer level. Facilities include a baby change area.

 

Seating
The Capitol Theatre has eight accessible spaces, accompanied by eight companion seats. Four of these spaces are accessible from the Foyer level. The remaining four spaces are accessible from the Salon level (Level 3) via the lift.
Please ask our front of house staff for directions or to accompany you to one of these spaces if assistance is required.

 

Hearing Loop
The Capitol is equipped with a hearing loop throughout the building. Please ask our front of house staff for assistance if required.

Visit

Find us

113 Swanston Street, Melbourne
Enter via Capitol Arcade,
opposite Melbourne Town Hall

Please send post to

The Capitol – RMIT University
GPO Box 2476
Melbourne, VIC 3001, Australia


aboriginal flag
torres strait flag

Acknowledgement of Country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business - Artwork 'Luwaytini' by Mark Cleaver, Palawa.

aboriginal flag
torres strait flag

Acknowledgement of Country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business.