Associate Professor Ross Thorne


For 25 years Ross Thorne had been an associate professor of architecture, researching the social and architectural history of theatre and cinema buildings in Australia. This research went from the first performance spaces at time of European settlement to the country-city performing arts centres of the 1960s and 1970s–from the earliest purpose-built cinemas to picture palaces and, following retirement, community cinema in country New South Wales from 1999 to 2006.

His forthcoming major project is to sift through and formulate a social history of the Queen’s Theatre, Adelaide, from some 4000 copies of documents related to the theatre, its actor managers, the actors, the audience and the Adelaide environment from 1841 to 1868. This continues his interest in the theatre following being granted an Australian Research Grant for a small archaeological excavation to dig in its former auditorium in the mid-1990s.

Key Publications

  • R. Thorne 2002 “Person-Environment Conditions that Inspired Regulatory and other Changes to Occur in Building Design from the 19th into the middle 20th centuries”, [i||People and Physical Environment Research]], No. 57, 39-62.
  • R. Thorne, L. Tod and K. Cork 1996 Movie Theatre Heritage Register for NSW, 1896-1996, (a National Estate Project) Sydney: Department of Architecture, University of Sydney.
  • R. Thorne “Theatres” (major entry) and 62 minor entries in P. Parsons, ed., The Companion to Theatre in Australia Sydney: Currency Press, 1995.
  • R. Thorne 1992 “Performing Arts Centres: The phenomenon, and what has influenced their being”, in K. Spinks, ed., Australian Theatre Design Sydney: Australian Production Designers’ Association, NSW, 1-67.
  • R. Thorne 1988 “The Environmental Psychology of Theatres and Picture Palaces 1902-1930”, in D. Canter, D. Stea and M. Krampen, eds., Ethnoscapes Vol 1: Environmental Perspectives Aldershot, UK: Avebury/Gower, 165-187.
  • R. Thorne 1981 Cinemas of Australia via USA Sydney: Architecture Department, University of Sydney.
  • R. Thorne 1979 Housing the Arts: Establishing Community Arts Centres of Performing Arts Facilities 2 vols., North Sydney: Australia Council, Arts Information Program.
  • R. Thorne 1971 Theatre Buildings in Australia to 1905, from the time of the first settlement to arrival of cinema 2 vols., Sydney: Architectural Research Foundation, University of Sydney.