astor theater 1902-2002

Mon, 12/13/2021 - 15:49

The theater had a humble beginning in 1902. It went through 4 generations and closed in 2002

first generation  1902-1927 cantonese opera only
second generation 1928-1955 theater for western movies and cantonese opera
third generation 1957-1987  11-story building with theater and shopping mall
fourth generation 1987-2002 converted into Eaton hotel with a mini-theater

There is a brief history at :…

translation below:

The story of change on Nathan Road (Part 1): After the renovation of Puqing Theater to Eaton Hotel Eaton Hotel, the restaurant on the ground floor was named "Puqing Restaurant", which seems to be a kind of tribute to the Puqing Theater that once stood here . Speaking of the Puqing Theater, the older generation may not forget the midnight movies that they have seen. At that time, entertainment was scarce, and movie prices were cheap, so watching movies became a pastime for many people at that time. Although Puqing Theater is called a theater, in fact, it was first used as a venue for Cantonese opera performances. With the changes of the times, in order to meet the tastes of the audience, Puqing Theater has gradually begun to show movies. The multi-purpose Puqing Theater is not only a place for the older generation to entertain, but also a platform for Chinese and Western cultural exchanges, witnessing the prosperity and decline of Hong Kong’s Cantonese opera, drama and film industry. The Puqing Theater has undergone four generations of evolution, and it was not until the millennium that it officially withdrew from the stage of history. The Puqing Theater began operations in 1902. At the beginning, it was just a simple theater for Cantonese opera masters to make their appearance. In front of the stage are placed some stone platforms and stools for the audience to use. It is said that due to the inconvenience of traffic at that time, the audience would watch the show all night, until the first bus started operation in the morning. In 1927, Puqing Theater experienced its first reconstruction. After the reconstruction, the Puqing Theater became a three-section theater. The two giant pillars in the theater and the carvings on the outer wall made it exude a taste of neoclassicism and became a scenic spot on Nathan Road at that time. In addition to the major changes in appearance and interior decoration, in order to cater to the popularity of sound movies, there are also large screens, American sound machines and new-style seats in the theater. However, Pu Hing Theatre did not abandon its use as a venue for Cantonese opera performances. Many famous Cantonese opera actors including Ma Shizeng and hung sin lui have performed in the theater. It can be said to be a real opera center. It was not until 1955 that the Puqing Theater was rebuilt again. The reconstructed Puqing Theater is a well-known 11-story new theater building. The theater has been expanded to more than 10,000 square feet, with comfortable latex seats. In addition to the theater, restaurants, department stores, hotels, billiard rooms, etc. have also been added to the building to match a brand-new consumption model. At that time, the Puqing Theater was part of the Western film theater line. Before the film was shown, there would be international news and two animation stories, and after the film was finished, there would be clips of the Queen’s parade, which was very special. In the late 1980s, Great Eagle Group purchased the theater and rebuilt it into Eaton Hotel and Puqing Plaza. Although the theater used to continue to operate as a mini theater, it finally closed in 2002 due to the decline of the film industry and the rampant piracy of movies. The Puqing Theater, which has gone through for nearly a century, is ultimately no match for the cruelty of the commercial world. It's not that culture and art have become cheap, but that they are too gentle to resist the smell of copper. The era has driven the continuous transformation of the Puqing Theater, from a simple theater to a fashionable theater. The various changes have witnessed the rapid changes in Hong Kong's popular culture. Reconstruction time after time, the location of the junction of Nathan Road and Gascoigne Road can no longer find the Puk Hing Theater, and the Ark of Culture that belonged to the last century has also sunk. However, in 2018, Eaton Hotel, which replaced the Puqing Theater, underwent a complete change. While taking into account commercial needs, it seems to be silently inheriting the mission of the Puqing Theater to promote culture and art...


second and third generation

2nd and 3rd generation astor theater.png
2nd and 3rd generation astor theater.png, by simtang


2nd generation (1928-1955)

showing movie "the Butterfly Lovers" which is a Chinese legend of a tragic love story of a pair of lovers, Liang Shanbo (梁山伯) and Zhu Yingtai (祝英台). It says it was produced in the "New China". That means the picture was taken after 1949.

2nd generation astor theater.JPG
2nd generation astor theater.JPG, by simtang


3rd generation (1957-1987)

The above picture was taken in 1966 and hence is third generation. The theater was showing a 1966 mandarin movie.

畫皮 (1966)
07/29/1966 - 08/15/1966

3th generation astor theater (1968).png
3th generation astor theater (1968).png, by simtang


4th generation (1987-2002)

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Date picture taken