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Dawu Theater 大武戲院

Looks like an abandoned warehouse but this is actually the former Dawu Theater.

I stumbled upon the remains of Dawu Theater 大武戲院 while on a bicycle tour of southern Taiwan in 2015. Located in the small coastal settlement of Dàwǔ 大武, Taitung, it was in operation from 1969 to 1983. Taitung was home to 36 theaters in the cinematic heyday of the 1960s and 70s, all of which are now abandoned or destroyed. Hardly anything remains after three decades of exposure that would identify Dawu Theater apart from a small sign in the antechamber.

I didn’t know it at the time but this was once the local movie theater!

In a curious twist of fate I did not know the Chinese characters for movie theater at the time—but I would learn them the very next day after chancing upon the very last of Taitung’s old theaters. As such, I had no idea this was a theater until I went through my photos a year later.

Dawu Theater from the streets of this small coastal town in Taitung.

This particular piece is actually an adaptation of a small part of the full account of my day. I have embarked upon a more dedicated study of the many old theaters of Taiwan and wanted this one to have its own entry in the catalog despite the paucity of photos and information.

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