The heritage-listed Northcote Theatre is among the oldest in Melbourne to survive largely intact, with its iconic frontage standing tall on High Street since 1912.

But it’s entering a very exciting new era, with an enormous reno getting the go-ahead.

Most recently a function centre called the Regal Ballroom, it’ll be transformed in early 2022 and will reopen midyear as a massive multi-purpose venue with room for 1500 punters in its live-music and performance space.

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That’s not all, though. On the ground floor will be an Italian trattoria called Dough Romeos and a snug wine bar called Isabellas. There’ll also be a cocktail bar overlooking the auditorium, while a sun-drenched rooftop bar will complete the stellar package.

Leading the charge – alongside a team of business partners – is former Northcote Social Club managing director Andrew Mansfield, who acquired the site in March 2020. “High Street has really evolved over the years, but it’s always been a heartland for musicians and artists,” he said in a statement. “We just want to compliment what’s already here.”

“The theatre is a grand and ornate space, purpose-built to host entertainment,” said the venue’s music booker Ben Thompson – behind national agency The Venue Collective – in the same statement. “The new owners have uncovered a sweeping tiered mezzanine and there are direct stage sightlines from anywhere in the theatre. It’s just perfect for live performance.”

The opening gig line-up remains under wraps while the team focuses on the restoration, but Thompson promises some “very special launch shows”. Watch this space.

Northcote Theatre is slated to reopen at 216 High Street, Northcote in mid-2022.