Beigang Theater 北港劇場

Beigang Theater 北港劇場 in Běigǎng 北港, Yúnlín 雲林, is among the finest and most well-preserved of Taiwan’s remaining Japanese colonial era theaters. Built in 1937 with investment from a local businessman by the name of Tsai Yu-Hu 蔡裕斛 (whose old house is also worth a look), this three storey theater featured a revolving stage, seating for 800 guests, and simple western-style facade with a trace of the Baroque Revival architecture popular at the time. It was not only a cinema—Taiwanese opera, glove puppet shows, musical concerts, wedding banquets, and other events were also held inside. The theater went out of business in 1988 and was converted for use as a department store and restaurant for some time thereafter. Nowadays it is apparently still in use as a pool hall and, inexplicably, a kidney dialysis center, but I saw no evidence of this when I visited in the summer of 2017.

Beigang was formerly home to four theaters of which this is the second. For this reason it was generally known as New Theater 新戲園 back in the day. The nearby Dàfù Theater 大復戲院, which dates back to 1927, was designated a heritage building in 2009 and is presently undergoing a costly restoration process. Despite its obvious historic and cultural value Beigang Theater itself is not protected by law, and I’ve not seen anything that would suggest this process is moving forward. I’d guess this has more to do with resistance by the current owners than a lack of interest on behalf of the Ministry of Culture 文化部. For an excellent Chinese language overview of theater history in Beigang I recommend this post and accompanying video by Yú Fū 魚夫.

Somewhat surprisingly I haven’t found too many posts about this classic theater. For vintage photos and more information in Chinese try following these links: here, here, and here.

Throughout the summer of 2017 I undertook a series of scooter trips around central and southern Taiwan, eventually visiting Nántóu 南投, Changhua 彰化, Yúnlín 雲林, Tainan 台南, and Kaohsiung 高雄 before returning to Taichung 台中. I had no specific objective apart from visiting more places I had encountered in ongoing research and stopping to check out anything interesting along the way.

  1. Taiwan Summer Road Trip 2017: Taichung to Nantou
  2. Dongping Tobacco Barn 東平菸樓
  3. Kezikeng New Community 柯子坑新社區
  4. Nanyun Gas Station 南雲加油站
  5. Jiuqiong Village Tobacco Barn 九芎村菸樓
  6. Yixin Vocational High School 益新工商職業學校
  7. Postcards From Ershui 二水明信片
  8. Ershui Assembly Hall 二水公會堂
  9. Xizhou Theater 溪州戲院
  10. Xiluo Bridge 西螺大橋
  11. Postcards From Xiluo 西螺明信片
  12. Xiluo Yisheng Theater 西螺一生戲院
  13. Beigang Theater 北港劇場
  14. Liujiao Brick Kiln 六腳磚窯
  15. Shuangxikou Brick Kiln 雙溪口磚窯
  16. Hsin Kang Theater 新港戲院
  17. Dalin Xinxing Theater 大林新興戲院
  18. Lingxiao Temple 凌霄殿

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