Cultural Icon Turns 21

Charters Towers' Bank of Commerce building has played a lot of roles over the past century - but for its most recent 21 years, has entertained audiences as the World Theatre. IMAGE: Karen Tenni

The building has been an iconic landmark in Charters Towers since it was opened in early 1892 as the Australian Stock Bank. Over the years it has played many roles and welcomed many tenants, and this September it will stage a show to celebrate its 21 rich years operating as the World Theatre.

The 660-seat theatre has played host to everything from international touring acts down to local school productions – but Venue Coordinator Karen Tenni said each was appreciated just as much by locals.

“The World Theatre is really keeping culture alive in Charters Towers, and is a massive asset for the region,” said Karen.

“It’s hard to pick a favourite moment from the past 21 years because the Theatre offers a little bit of everything, from recitals and local performances through to our cinema screenings and then as many other shows as we can attract and afford. We’ve had the Imperial Russian Ballet here twice, for both the Nutcracker and Swan Lake – and man can those boys jump and drink!

“The Variety Spectacular will be the ultimate celebration of everything the Theatre can offer, including Charters Towers: The Musical, which was written for our town especially by Shenton Gregory. It’s a great musical which had a local cast of 200 and saw an audience of thousands.

“There really will be something for everyone throughout the weekend of celebration with not only musical numbers and dances, but poem readings, circus workshops, video greetings from local figures who can’t be here, and to top it all off the Spectacular will be hosted by ABC television’s James Valentine.

“I think Charters Towers is a great place for cultural activities – if you live here, you should definitely get involved in Towers Players who perform so much each year. And then even if you don’t live in Charters Towers, it’s a great excuse for a weekend away! If a touring show sells out in Townsville, there’s a good chance they’re stopping by the World Theatre too so there will still be time for you to book in.

Celebrate the World Theatre’s 21st Birthday during the Charters Towers Variety Spectacular on 9 September. For more information, visit

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