The theatre is closed for the 2023 season. We look forward to seeing you in Easter 2024.

The magic of
cinema since 1918

1898 – A first for Winton

Travelling peddlers arrive in Winton with Thomas Edison’s latest invention, the Vitascope projector. It’s set up in Steele’s Hall and is paired with a loud-speaking phonograph. This proves a hit to the community and sets in motion a new age of entertainment for the town.

Pictured: ‘The Kiss’ – One of the first films shown to the public in 1896.

1918 – Curtains raised

Family accounts dictate that the Royal Picture Show was established in this year. Cobb & Co stagecoaches stopped along what is now known next-door as Cobb Lane, and this would provide some well-earned downtime for patrons after their long journey.

Pictured: The view down Elderslie Street. (State Library of Queensland)

1930 – Look who’s talking

With Winton receiving Electricity and a rail line from Longreach in years prior, more opportunities and more visitors allowed for Winton’s first big upgrade; Talkies! Jack Menzel, the theatre proprietor had RCA audio equipment installed with a resounding success.

Pictured: RCA Photophone logo – 1929-1937

1937 – The Evert era begins

The Longreach Leader reports of the sale of the Winton Picture Theatre to Mr John Thomas William Evert (Bill), owner of the Central Hotel. From this point on, the Everts have remained loyal custodians of the theatre for generations. This also makes the beginning of a time of great improvements over the course of the next decades.

Pictured: Bill and his wife Ellen

1938 – Rise of the phoenix

At 10:30pm on October 1st, fierce flames were seen licking the sky above Winton. A blaze powered by a strong breeze swept through Elderslie Street and while no lives were lost, many buildings including the Royal Talkies Theatre were reduced to rubble with a monstrous £15,000 damage bill. The fire originated in the projection room and quickly spread, causing movie-goers to flee the theatre through Cobb Lane.

While it looked like the end for The Royal, this didn’t stop Bill in his efforts. It was reported in a local newspaper that a Mr Evert boarded a mail plane to Brisbane the following Thursday to purchase a new audio plant to replace the one lost in the fire. In November, Bill purchased the land on which the old Royal Mail hotel stood to gain complete control of the rebuild process. The steel skeleton of the new theatre space was erected by December 14th, and a date was set for the re-opening; December 21st. Nothing grand, as Bill wanted it to be business as usual. Corrugated iron cladded the structure and the projection room was made fireproof with Fibro sheeting. Weather permitting, William would be able to re-open his theatre just in time for Christmas.

Pictured: The Royal Mail Hotel and theatre engulfed in flames, and in ruin. (State Library of Queensland)
Pictured: A representation of the triumphant headline seen in The Longreach Leader, December 31st 1938

1940 – Strap on your skates

Addition of roller skating rink (to be written)

Pictured: Skating Rink

1950 – Smooth sailing

Good times post war, regular seat bookings (to be written)

Pictured: View of Elderslie Street

1964 – A new generation

Vince Evert taking over from his father (to be written)

Pictured: Picture of Vince

1984 – Fighting the good fight

Vince’s efforts to keep the theatre afloat (to be written)

Pictured: View of Elderslie Street

2005 – Larger than life

World Record Deck Chair donated (to be written)

Pictured: Biggest Deck Chair

2014 – Just splendid

Vision Splendid using the Royal Picture Theatre as a hosting location (to be written)

Pictured: Vision Splendid Picture

2018 – One hundred years

Royal Theatre turns 100 (to be written)

Pictured: Theatre

2019 – Winton Movies Inc.

Formation of Winton Movies Inc. (to be written)

2020 – The show must go on

This renovation stage is being funded through grass roots fundraising and grants. Project Manager Gavin Evert, “After we complete the Candy Bar project, we have a lot more work to be done and we need all the help we can get! We need to enclose the projection room to protect the equipment from the elements, we are building more deck chairs, have flooring to repair, the museum will be moved to better showcase the history, the entrance is to be restored, the bathrooms need work, we have some structural work and a lot of painting to be done.”

The passion of the Evert family and the Winton community is on show with this proud effort to bring the theatre back to life and put on a show!

Pictured: Envisioning for a refurbished Candy Bar and commenced renovation work.

Be a part of our story today.