Hei Loi Garden / 喜來園 [1900-1904]
Seating capacity: unknown
Address: 140 Holywood Road, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong
According to one source listed below, Hei Loi Garden was Hong Kong's first "電影院" which means "cinema" in English. However, the title may actually belong to another theatre. Word for word, 電-影-院 translates to electric-project or shine on-hall, the Chinese customary way of using compound words to name something new, technology in this case, instead of creating a new single word. I wonder it this theatre was the first in Hong Kong to using electric movie projectors.
According to Hong Kong Theatres Association Limited, the first movie theatre was Tung Hing Theatre built in 1867 in Sheung Wan. One may assume that it also used electricity to operate movie projectors. Tung Hing page: https://gwulo.com/node/32520#16/22.2859/114.1473/Map_by_ESRI-Markers/100
A short interesting write-up by Cinema Treasures on Hei Loi:
" According to an article "Hong Kong’s Cinematic Beginnings 1896-1908", written by Law Wai-ming and translated into English by Stephen Teo, the cinema (Hei Loi Garden) showed short films from 5th November, 1900 through 27th December, 1900 at a venue at 68 Hollywood Road on the Hong Kong Island. The company resumed showing on 15th January, 1901.
The company relocated to a venue at Ice House Street near the Cricket Club on the Hong Kong Island. Short films were shown at the new venue from 27th January 1901 through 8th February, 1901. On 24th October, 1902, the company relocated to a venue at 140 Hollywood Road, on the left side of the Man Mo Temple. Amercian short films were shown at the venue."
It is noted that the author mentioned above - Law Wai-ming, also wrote about the New Hei Loi Garden, but it is not possible to ascertain that it was operated by the same cmpany/owner. The New Hei Loi Garden showed short films on December 27, 1902 at a venue by the waterfront near the Central Market in Central, Hong Kong.
The closing date of the two theatres are unknown. I consider both as a single operation which ended in 1904 for the purpose of this page. The location marker on this map is Central Market the last known address. The location marker on this map is approximate.
- Cinema Treasures: http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/31103; http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/31104
- Hong Kong Theatres Association Limited: http://hktaorg.com/en/cinemahistory.php
- Wikipedia's list of theatres no longer operating: https://zh.wikipedia.org/zh-tw/%E9%A6%99%E6%B8%AF%E5%B7%B2%E7%B5%90%E6%A...