Luen Wo Theatre - Fanling Theatre / 聯和戲院 - 粉嶺戲院 [1953-2010]
The two theatres operated in the same building but during two different periods, hence both are discussed here.
Address: 1 Luen Fat Street*, Fanling, New Territories, Hong Kong. The building remained standing as per 2011 Google photos. Several shops were operating at street level.
[* Update November 14, 2018: A Google street view dated August 2017 shows the cinema's name in Chinese at the former Luen Wo Market. The market building appears to serve as storage area. New construction can be seen behind it so its future is uncertain unless already declared heritage. The Luen Fat Street address is two blocks southwest of the Market. This suggests that the cinema was relocated to the Market. Regarding the original address (1 Luen Fat Street), the Januray 2017 street views show the shops were almost empty and no pedestrian traffic. I wonder if the theatre building still exists.]
An interesting history of the two theatres can be found in a discussion paper entitled "Historic Building Appraisal Former Fanling Theatre, 1 Luen Fat Street, Fanling, N. T" , date and author(s) unknown, likely sometime after 2011. Some highlights in the paper are as follows:
Luen Wo Theatre was the first theatre in the area now known as North District, N.T. of Hong Kong. When the theatre first opened for the public in July 1953, its debut film was a documentary of the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II on June 2, 1953, and the viewing was offered free of charge. Since the theatre was unroofed (understood to be having no roof), umbrellas would come in handy on a rainy day. The rows of wooden seats had a total capacity of 640.
In 1959, new owners took over possession, upgraded the original theatre and increased the seating capacity to more than 800. The theatre was renamed Fanling Theatre at its re-opening ceremony on September 11, 1959.
The theatre was popular among the area's residents but after the 1960s business started to decline to the point where operation was no longer economically viable. The theatre closed its doors for the last time on January 6, 2010. The next phase of the existing building's life cycle is unclear at this time.
- Discussion paper: http://www.aab.gov.hk/form/news_20160419/historic_2_new_items.pdf
- Isletforum: http://isletforum.com/home.php?mod=space&uid=58&do=blog&id=1096
- Cinema Treasures: http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/33632
- Hong Kong Theatres Association Limited: http://hktaorg.com/en/cinemahistory.php