Sunbeam Theatre

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Sunbeam Theatre on King's Road
Lobby of Sunbeam Theatre
The Sunbeam Theatre at night.

Sunbeam Theatre (Chinese: 新光戲院) is a landmark theatre in Hong Kong showcasing Cantonese opera. It is located at 423 King's Road, North Point,[1] near the intersection with Shu Kuk Street.[2]

History[edit]

In the 1950s, many of the Shanghainese emigrants moved from Shanghai to Hong Kong and settled in the North Point area. At the time Shanghai was known for its leftist revolutions, and many of the leftist supported businesses relocated to North Point. Aside from the China Products Department stores, the Sunbeam Theatre is one of the landmark theatres to have been started by that same group of emigrants.[3] It was established by "Hua Chang Enterprises Ltd" in 1972. Later it was turned over to "Silver Entertainment Ltd" on 1 September 1980 to Henry Fok, chairman of "Sunbeam Entertainment". In 1988 Yao-Hung, chairman of the board of "Hong Kong United Arts Entertainment Company Ltd" took over its operation.

In 1989, the theatre was divided into two auditoriums, with the smaller one converted from the balcony for showing films, while the larger one converted from the stalls for stage performances.[4]

In 1993, Chung Sun Sing Opera Troupe had a season of 38 consecutive full-house shows at the Sunbeam Theatre, winning the theatre the title of "Hong Kong's Grand Palace for Cantonese Opera".[5]

The 80,000-square-foot (7,400 m2) property was acquired by Francis Law Sau-fai (羅守輝) in 2003 for HK$162 million.[6] There were plans to transform it into a shopping mall.[7]

In March 2007, the smaller auditorium was rebuilt as a multi-purpose theatre for stage performances.[4]

The lease of the theatre, ended in February 2009.[8] After much public debate about the possible closure of the theatre and discussions about alternative options, the lease with the operator of the Theatre was renewed for three years, while the landlord had made clear his plan to redevelop the theatre three years later.[9] At the same time, the Government was planning to provide HK$100,000 each month, through the Arts Development Council, to subsidise the rental of the Theatre.[10]

In 2012 an arrangement was made by a mystery person named Mr. Leung to have landlord Francis Law Sau-fai meet with opera playwright Li Kui-ming (李居明) to talk about the rent situation.[11] Law accepted the rent at a cost of HK$1 million a month. This allowed the property to stay a Cantonese opera theatre.[6] The mystery man was later said to be 2012 chief executive election candidate Leung Chun-ying.[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ticketing through Cityline
  2. ^ Sunbeam Theatre. Lonely Planet
  3. ^ Wordie, Jason. (2002) Streets: Exploring Hong Kong Island. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press. ISBN 962-209-563-1
  4. ^ a b Cinema Treasures entry
  5. ^ "Heritage Museum shows the majestic stage of Cantonese opera theatres", LCSD. 18 October 2008
  6. ^ a b South China morning post. Ray of hope for Sunbeam Theatre. Feb 17, 2012.
  7. ^ The Standard: "Sunbeam all set for new lease of life" (5 February 2009)
  8. ^ "Show of support for Sunbeam" The Standard (30 December 2008)
  9. ^ Minutes of meeting held on Friday, 13 February 2009. Legislative Council – Panel on Home Affairs
  10. ^ "Gov't to subsidise Sunbeam Theatre" news.gov.hk (21 February 2009)
  11. ^ a b "香港成報-梁振英協力穿針引線 支持粤劇在港發展". Singpao.com. 2012-02-19. Retrieved 2012-02-26. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 22°17′29″N 114°12′00″E / 22.291332°N 114.200051°E / 22.291332; 114.200051