The Capitol 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. We respectfully acknowledge their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. We also acknowledge the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business.
Deliberately pleasing
Deliberately pleasing
Deliberately pleasing
Deliberately pleasing
Deliberately pleasing
Deliberately pleasing
Deliberately pleasing
Deliberately pleasing
ME THREE: A TRIPLE BILL FOR IWD
Screenings plus filmmakers and feminists in convo. Tix on sale now!
ME THREE: A TRIPLE BILL FOR IWD
Screenings plus filmmakers and feminists in convo. Tix on sale now!
ME THREE: A TRIPLE BILL FOR IWD
Screenings plus filmmakers and feminists in convo. Tix on sale now!
To infinity n beyond
To infinity n beyond
To infinity n beyond
To infinity n beyond
To infinity n beyond
To infinity n beyond
To infinity n beyond
To infinity n beyond
SPACESHIP EARTH
Replay our panel convo +
director masterclass.
SPACESHIP EARTH
Replay our panel convo +
director masterclass.
SPACESHIP EARTH
Replay our panel convo +
director masterclass.
Video art 2 ur inbox
Video art 2 ur inbox
Video art 2 ur inbox
Video art 2 ur inbox
Video art 2 ur inbox
Video art 2 ur inbox
Video art 2 ur inbox
Video art 2 ur inbox
PROTOTYPE CONVERSATIONS
Catch up on past video art chats below with
Sari Braithwaite, Tiyan Baker + Sam Smith.
PROTOTYPE CONVERSATIONS
Catch up on past video art chats below with
Sari Braithwaite, Tiyan Baker + Sam Smith.
PROTOTYPE CONVERSATIONS
Catch up on past video art chats below with
Sari Braithwaite, Tiyan Baker + Sam Smith.
Better than IRL TBH
Better than IRL TBH
Better than IRL TBH
Better than IRL TBH
Better than IRL TBH
Better than IRL TBH
Better than IRL TBH
Better than IRL TBH
VIRTUAL VISITS
Keep scrolling to explore The Capitol's hidden spaces with our VR tour below.
VIRTUAL VISITS
Keep scrolling to explore The Capitol's hidden spaces with our VR tour below.
VIRTUAL VISITS
Keep scrolling to explore The Capitol's hidden spaces with our VR tour below.

Me Three: A Triple Bill for IWD

Join the revolution

In celebration of International Women’s Day, The Capitol presents a deliberately pleasing triple bill of screenings and conversations about the legacy of feminism and how it connects with younger womxn today.

Screenings of Brazen Hussies (2020), She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry (2014) & We Aim To Please (1976) will be accompanied by filmmakers and feminists in conversation about the legacy of feminism and how it connects with younger womxn today.

“A celebration of how far we’ve come and a warning of just how easily everything these women fought for could be lost.” Sally Breen, The Conversation

 

A screening of We Aim To Please & Brazen Hussies & filmmakers in conversation
6pm, Thursday 11 Mar
+
A screening of She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry introduced by associate producer Catherine Dwyer
6pm, Friday 12 Mar

Priced to Please!
Single session tickets: 
Thurs 11 Mar $12+BF
Fri 12 Mar $12 + BF
Triple Bill discount $20+BF (while allocation lasts) 

In celebration of International Women’s Day, The Capitol presents a deliberately pleasing triple bill of screenings and conversations about the legacy of feminism and how it connects with younger womxn today. 

On Thursday 11 March we screen Melbourne filmmaker Catherine Dwyer’s directorial debut, Brazen Hussies (2020), which tells the story of the women’s liberation movement in Australia and the ‘brazen hussies’ who helped change this country for young women today. Hussies will be accompanied by Robin Laurie and Margot Nash’s experimental short, We Aim To Please (1976), which erotically and energetically challenged the then (and possibly still now) conventional male gaze and accepted ideas about women’s sexuality. 

On Friday 12 March we present a screening of the documentary She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry (2014), about the birth of the women’s liberation movement in the US – a film Catherine Dwyer worked on as associate producer, and which inspired her to tell the Australian story.

We Aim To Please will be introduced by filmmaker Robin Laurie, and Brazen Hussies will be followed by a conversation with Catherine Dwyer, author, academic and filmmaker Barbara Creed (Homosexuality: A Film for Discussion), who is also a featured interviewee in the Hussies documentary, and others to be announced. The discussion will explore how the issues in Brazen Hussies are relevant to younger women today, and unpack how gender equity, diversity and transgenderism intersect with its legacy. 

In Brazen Hussies, Dwyer introduces contemporary audiences to the second wave feminists in Australia who fought for equal pay, reproductive rights, affordable childcare, and the prevention of family violence and rape. The film combines extraordinary archival footage with interviews from many of the movement’s key activists, demonstrating the collective power it took to achieve change.

“A celebration of how far we’ve come and a warning of just how easily everything these women fought for could be lost.” Sally Breen, The Conversation 

A screening of We Aim To Please & Brazen Hussies & filmmakers in conversation
6pm, Thursday 11 Mar
+
A screening of She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry introduced by associate producer Catherine Dwyer
6pm, Friday 12 Mar 

Priced to Please!
Single session tickets: 
Thurs 11 Mar $12+BF
Fri 12 Mar $12 + BF
Triple Bill discount $20+BF (while allocation lasts) 

Subscribe

While our physical doors are closed, our newsletter has updates on our digital programs, and you’ll be the first to know when our doors reopen after the Covid-19 lockdown lifts. We run giveaways and exclusive offers for our subscribers, too.

About Us

Fellini once said something about cinemas being the dream we dream with our eyes open. Our Theatre 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.

Fellini once said something about cinemas being the dream we dream with our eyes open. Our Theatre 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.  It is not lost, but very much here, in Melbourne. Welcome to The Capitol.

We’re putting the theatre back in the theatre and the spectacle back into the cinema-going experience. 

Visions, Speculations & Dystopias: A deep dive into Spaceship Earth

“If ever a documentary was in tune with the spirit of lockdown it is this very absorbing film about Biosphere 2 – a colossal eco-experimental project in the Arizona desert in the early 90s, which had its roots in 60s counterculture and which I knew nothing about before this.” – The Guardian

Watch the recording of our live panel discussion Ground control to lockdown town: Should we leave Earth? Provocations from science, speculative design & science fiction here and our masterclass with NYC-based director Matt Wolf here.

We presented a free online event series for space junkies, eco-futurists, and lockdown existentialists in October 2020. The lineup included a screening of Matt Wolf’s stranger-than-fiction documentary Spaceship Earth (2020), plus a two-day provocation covering climate resilience, earthly dystopias, speculative fictions, life on Mars, eco-futurism, astrofuturism, and the social experimentation emerging from the experience of being locked down in our own private biospheres at home. 

You can replay the live panel discussion Ground control to lockdown town: Should we leave Earth? Provocations from science, speculative design & science fiction with Professor Michelle Gee, Director of the Sir Lawrence Wackett Centre, speculative fiction writer Dr. Rose Michael, and speculative designer Dr. Ollie Cotsaftis – all from RMIT – here.

Our masterclass with NYC-based director Matt Wolf (Wild Combination, Teenage, Recorder: The Marion Stokes Project) covering his archival-led approach to documentary filmmaking, long-form interviewing, themes across his body of work, and the making of Spaceship Earth can be watched here.

Filmmaker and Guggenheim Fellow Matt Wolf’s Spaceship Earth showcases the journey of eight visionaries who in 1991 spent two years quarantined inside a self-engineered replica of Earth’s ecosystem in the Arizona desert called Biosphere 2. The experiment set out to explore the viability of establishing human existence on other planets but the ‘biospherians’ faced life-threatening ecological disaster, interpersonal tensions and a growing criticism from the outside world that it was nothing more than a cult.

Wolf’s film stitches together present-day and archival footage – drawn from over 600 hours of material – to tell this almost unbelievable moment in history, at the time a worldwide media sensation but which now seems to be the stuff of science fiction.

In our present state of social isolation and with concerns over global warming and ecological preservation an urgent reality, this thrilling, utopian experiment is even more fascinating and poignant than when the biospherians first launched themselves into their Earth-bound geodesic dome. 

“If ever a documentary was in tune with the spirit of lockdown it is this very absorbing film about Biosphere 2 – a colossal eco-experimental project in the Arizona desert in the early 90s, which had its roots in 60s counterculture and which I knew nothing about before this.”The Guardian

Spaceship Earth is still streaming on DocPlay if you haven’t yet watched it.

Watch the panel discussion here and the masterclass here.

Take 2

We’re asking our friends across our film and creative communities to pick a film that’s available to watch online and tell us in two minutes or less what they love about it. Everything mentioned in this series is available to watch on free or paid streaming services.

Prototype Conversations

“It’s deeply weird that the internet has made cats and radio famous, but not video art.” – Lauren Carroll Harris, curator, Prototype

Go beyond cat and corona-memes with our series of free, online conversations about video, art and the makings of both at a time when everyone is being sucked into the internet at high-speed. These live chats were recorded in August 2020, head here to watch.

Presented in collaboration with Prototype, these digital Q&As featured video artists from their Care Package series, a weekly newsletter delivering new, remixed, re-edited and under-seen works made by artists in lockdown, straight to your inbox.

“It’s deeply weird that the internet has made cats and radio famous, but not video art.” – Lauren Carroll Harris, curator, Prototype

Go beyond cat and corona-memes with our series of free, online conversations about video, art and the makings of both at a time when everyone is being sucked into the internet at high-speed. These live chats were recorded in August and are all available to watch here.

Presented in collaboration with Prototype, these digital Q&As featured video artists from their Care Package series, a weekly newsletter delivering new, remixed, re-edited and under-seen works made by artists in lockdown, straight to your inbox.

On Tuesday 11 August Prototype curator Lauren Carroll Harris joined filmmaker Sari Braithwaite ([CENSORED]) to discuss Qiuzhuang (2020). Made remotely with filmmaker Katie Mitchell (Divided City) during lockdown, Qiuzhuang raises complex questions around art’s purpose or purposelessness, and the fine line that divides cultural cross-pollination and cultural colonisation. Watch Qiuzhuang here, then watch the full conversation here.

On Tuesday 18 August artist Tiyan Baker discussed her work Tarun (2020), which examines the reckoning of homecoming and belonging when Baker returns to her mother’s birthplace in Sarawak (colonised by the British and then Malaysia), to learn the Bidayuh language and understand the jungle culture that might have been her own. Watch Tarun here, then watch the full conversation here.

The series wrapped on Tuesday 25 August with UK-based artist and filmmaker Sam Smith discussing his work Lithic Coda (2020). Filmed on the volcanic island of Gotland, Sweden, the work unites myth, body and landscape when a raincoated dancer is stunned by an encounter with a floating, living, rotating rock. Watch the work in full here, and the full chat is up here.

Virtual Visits

Locked down last year, we opened our virtual doors for the 2020 Open House Melbourne Weekend. Step backstage and explore The Capitol’s hidden corners with Peter Malatt, architect and founding director of Six Degrees Architects, and Professor Martyn Hook, Dean, School of Architecture and Urban Design, RMIT. Our guides take you behind-the-scenes, through The Capitol’s curving staircases, historic serveries and galleys, and spaces not usually accessible to the public.

This digital tour offers a truly intimate look inside The Capitol. You’ll see things you wouldn’t get to see if you were there IRL, and hear Peter and Martyn share some of the magic and the history behind “the best cinema that has ever been built, or is ever likely to be built”, as iconic Australian architect Robin Boyd once lavishly declared.

You can also join us for a virtual experience of The Capitol from anywhere in the world, at any time that suits you. Our Virtual Visit invites you inside the spectacular Theatre, as well as the upper and lower foyers, Salon and Lounge at The Capitol. Stare up at the awe-inspiring ceiling (our own crystal palace), peek behind the stage curtain, and ogle the bold, geometric carpet in the foyers (gives The Shining’s carpet a run for its money).

Discover the Theatre and Foyer here. Then wander through the Salon and Lounge here.

Image: The Theatre in The Capitol. Photo: Tatjana Plitt

Our History

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 568. The theatricality of the movie-going experience was – and still 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.

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 568. The theatricality of the movie-going experience was – and still 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.

‘That’ ceiling was created with 33,000 plaster crystals lit by thousands of coloured lights, creating the impression of a crystalline cave of wonder. 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. History nerds might enjoy watching this short documentary we put together about The Capitol’s origin-story. May we also direct you to this terrific article by Professor Lisa French, Dean, School of Media and Communication at RMIT, in Senses of Cinema, which offers more about The Capitol’s history, including a spotlight on the visionary contribution of Marion Mahony Griffin. 

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.

Between 2014–2019 RMIT worked with Six Degrees Architects to restore The Capitol to its former glory and make considerable upgrades to the building. It reopened mid-2019 with an extended stage to host live theatre, music, talks, conferences and lectures, a 7.1 surround sound system, 35mm film projection, 4K digital projection, coffee and wine bars, and a direct link to RMIT’s Media Precinct, which allows remote broadcasting capability. The Capitol is now well equipped to deliver a new era of education to students by day, and culture to the city by night (/s and weekends).

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.