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Located in the heart of the Wheatbelt , the Cummins Theatre is a multipurpose performance
venue owned and operated by the Shire of Merredin. It is used annually to present a diverse range of works by professional touring companies, in house productions by Merredin Repertory Club, community events, live simulcasts and more.



Cummins Theatre opened on the 10th of October 1928.

The Theatre owns its existence in Merredin to James Hurtle Cummins, who owned Kalgoorlie Brewery. Cummins was planning to open a second brewery in Merredin and felt the town also needed a theatre. Cummins was a lover of the arts and had been on the board for several Goldfields Theatres.

Mr Cummins purchased the Tivoli Theatre, which had been built in Coolgardie in 1897, and had it dismantled and sent in pieces to Merredin by train. Here, the thirty-year-old Theatre was rebuilt where it stands today on Bates Street. Cummins Theatre, was renamed in honour of its founder.

In 1991, an extension was built on the south side of the theatre, adding a kitchen, bar and function space to the theatre; named The Tivoli after the original Coolgardie theatre.

Cummins Theatre has played host to a number of Australia’s favourite artists over the years, including AC/DC, Slim Dusty, Johnny O’Keefe, Lano & Woodley, The Wiggles, David Helfgott, Sherbert, Marcia Hines, John Paul Young, Amy Shark, and many, many others.

Cummins Theatre is one of the last interwar-classical style theatres to still be operating as a live performance space today; the theatre was permanently entered on the State Register of Heritage Places in 1996.


Alice Cummins was the daughter of James Cummins; she was exceptionally smart, a talented businesswoman, and a gifted musician.

Alice was the first woman in Western Australia to be admitted to practice as a legal practitioner (having previously been admitted in South Australia), but she never practices – instead, while on a visit to her father’s brewery in Kalgoorlie, Alice discovers a love of brewing, and was soon running the place alongside her father – mastering the economic, engineering, refrigeration and marketing aspects required to turn Kalgoorlie Brewing into a wildly successful business.

Alice moved to Merredin in 1930, 2 years after Cummins Theatre was built, to establish the Merredin Brewery. Alice built a lavish home in Merredin, and installed Mollie Redvers-Bates as a housekeeper, who would soon become Alice’s closest companion.

In 1935, after James Cummins passing, Alice inherited his many estates, including Cummins Theatre; becoming an incredibly wealthy woman.

Alice was bereft when Mollie left to live in Melbourne in 1943, and some months later – as Alice prepared to go to Melbourne herself she tragically died of a coronary occlusion in Kalgoorlie. She bequeaths much of her estate to Mollie and her two daughters.

It is believed by the Merredin community that Alice haunts Cummins Theatre to this day.

Why? No one seems to know where the legend came from, but it is now tradition to greet Alice when you enter Cummins Theatre, otherwise strange things might happen…