What we offer
CLassic/cult film projection
The Paragon Theatre is a rare surviving 1920’s, state heritage listed entertainment and vintage cinema venue located 4hrs north of Brisbane, on the Bruce Highway in Childers – a small agricultural town.
In February 2007, Merissa Ricciardi purchased the theatre from her grandparents and began restoration efforts which breathed new life into The Paragon allowing it to be reopened to the public in 2014 as a cinema and entertainment venue.
Since it’s re-opening, The Paragon Theatre has played host to numerous classic and cult film days/nights attracting people from all states of Australia and even some international interest. If you are looking for a truly original classic film experience, The Paragon Theatre will transport you there! Keep an eye out for upcoming ticket sales or ask us if we can arrange the projection of your favourite film.
Private function hire & Group Packages
History is beautifully preserved and displayed in the walls of The Paragon. With approximately 400 seats throughout the main auditorium and the balcony, our venue attracts groups, clubs and bus tours especially for ‘Behind The Scenes’ Historic Theatre Tours or a private film screening paired with morning tea.
But don’t limit your imagination. We offer far more than tours and picture theatre! The Paragon is a fully licensed venue with an operational espresso bar in the foyer open 7 days a week. Extra floor space, additional seating and tables can be provided and the layout is versatile enough to accommodate many kinds of events.
From wedding receptions to corporate functions, celebrations and more, we’re honoured to provide our beautiful space as a backdrop. Get in touch with Merissa to work out the details and bring your next event to life.
on-stage live shows
The Paragon Theatre has been host to many live shows over the years and continues to provide the perfect setting for classic shows, cabaret, live theatre acts, professional live music and more. Being a fully licensed venue with magnificent acoustics, original ‘sling’ seats and plenty of room for dancing, makes this a venue like no other!
Keep an eye out of tickets of upcoming shows and book in early, these shows are usually sell-out.
In 1909, the Gees bought a single-storeyed shop on the main street of Childers and opened Gee’s Hall as a refreshment room. They added a ballroom in the form of a second floor for various functions and in 1912 installed a lighting plant becoming the first venue for silent movies in the district!
By 1927 the business was booming so they sought to expand. Plans were prepared by architect Arthur Robson of Brisbane for a tropical theatre similar to Alhambra Theatre at Stones Corner and the Paddington Theatre on Given Terrace, Brisbane.
Soon after the opening of the new theatre, Harold Philpott sold his share of the business to Dudley and Margery Gee and in 1949 the theatre was sold to Peter and Mary Sourris of Gayndah. It was sold to the Ricciardi family in the 1960’s but the work of keeping it active took a toll on the aging owners and between 1998-2007 the theatre was either rented or empty.
In February 2007, Merissa Ricciardi purchased the theatre from her grandparents and began restoration efforts which breathed new life into The Paragon allowing it to be reopened to the public in 2014 as a cinema and entertainment venue. Since then, The Paragon has provided its fantastic acoustics, ample dancing space and setting to classic and cult film days/nights, professional live music and live theatre acts.
Merissa received a National Trust Queensland Heritage Award in 2015 for her conservation works at this State Heritage Listed site. That same year, the Espresso Bar was opened to provide more sustainable income to The Paragon and in 2017, the award-winning local ice cream company Mammino Gourmet Ice Cream was purchased by Leo and Helen Ricciardi (Merissa’s parents). This added an extra dimension of fun and flavour to Paragon Espresso’s menu.
Much progress has been made but this story is far from over as restoration continues and new ventures are launched at The Paragon!
Design Details of The Paragon
The Paragon Theatre is a large timber building with a masonry façade prominently located on Churchill Street in Childers. The rear section of the building is a large shed-like form clad in unpainted timber weatherboards with a pitched, galvanised iron roof. The side walls have high level louvred openings under the eaves and timber framed windows in the lower section of the wall.
The parapeted façade is composed of face brick pilasters which divide the surface into three bays rendered with roughcast stucco. The parapet edge features a rectangular signage block flanked by a masonry balustrade. Three sets of timber casement windows are located in the upper sections of each of the bays. The glass of the windows has been painted and each set of windows is surmounted by horizontal awnings with small hipped roofs and supported by timber brackets. A large awning projects from the surface of the façade, supported by iron tie-backs. The horizontal awning features a centrally located shallow arch which defines the entrance. Raised lettering on the front of the awning spelling ‘PARAGON’ is located on the arch.
The entrance is via concrete steps to four pairs of folding glass and timber doors. Tapered pylons abutting the wall surface flank the entrance doors and support another arch over the doorway. Two shop fronts are situated at the corners of the front façade. The entry area has also been subdivided with a lightweight partition in order to create a sub-tenancy. The shop to the left is occupied by the retail store “At Rainbow’s End” and the shop to the right is occupied by the Isis Family Daycare office.
The original ticket office and small foyer area are located to the eastern side of the entry. Internally the theatre retains many of its early features, including seating, timber fretwork and lattice, light fittings and some balustrading. The ceiling and most of the side walls are covered with timber lattice mounted on timber posts, that stops just above the level of the exit doors in the side walls. The bottom edge of the lattice is finished with shallow arches trimmed with a double stripe painted in black.
At the top of the side walls is a broad band of decoration achieved by picking out a pattern within the lattice with black paint. The screen is covered with long curtains and is surrounded with fibro-cement panelling that frames the screen, now covering the proscenium. The orchestra pit has also been boarded over. Most of the ground floor seating is comprised of canvas, deckchair-type seating with one row of tip-up seating located against the back wall.
The balcony upstairs has a raked, stepped timber floor, with each row of seats occupying a different level. The seating in the front three rows is timber and upholstered fixed seating, there are then two rows of canvas seats and a final row of “dress circle” seating at the back. The projection box is located at the rear of the balcony in a space enclosed with fibro-cement panelling. A small timber residence is connected to the rear of the building and is occupied.
Get ready for your next movie night
Peruse our roster of upcoming movies and even purchase tickets for the movie or event that takes your fancy.