The Regent Theatre is a theatre in Dunedin, New Zealand with a seating capacity of about 1,650. It is in The Octagon, the city's central plaza, directly opposite the Municipal Chambers (Dunedin Town Hall) and close to the Dunedin Public Art Gallery. Originally a 2,000 seat cinema the Regent opened on 1 June 1928, and the interior is elaborately decorated in a revived baroque style, characteristic of the super cinemas of the time. The design is a variation of Robert Atkinson's for the 1921 Regent cinema in Brighton, England, which was demolished in 1974.
There were comparable picture palaces in other cities in Britain and Australia, few of which now survive and, apart from the Dunedin building, none in their original form. (There was one in Brisbane which survived until recently, Regent Theatre (Brisbane), another in Sydney, Regent Theatre (Sydney) demolished in 1988, and a still existing but re-modelled structure in Melbourne, Regent Melbourne.) All these designs are descended from Charles Garnier's for the Paris Opera, (palais Garnier) completed in 1875.
The Regent's auditorium succeeds in replaying the exuberance of the original in a very different time and space. The Dunedin building's supervising architect was James Hodge White (1896-1970), one of the founders of the Dunedin architectural firm Miller White & Dunn. It was sited behind a building on the Octagon designed by David Ross (1828-1908) which was first opened in 1876. The Octagon building was given an additional storey in 1880 and remodelled at the ground floor in 1928 to provide the present theatre entrance.