Xinying 新營

Xīnyíng 新營 is the former capital of Tainan county, before it was merged with the city to form a unified Tainan 台南. It is an otherwise ordinary small city on the western plains of Taiwan 台灣 without much to recommend.

Xinying Chenggong Theater 新營成功戲院

These metal frames would have once held movie posters. The faint outline of the theater’s most recent name can still be seen if you look closely.

Despite its relative obscurity Xinying is the largest settlement along the railway line between metropolitan Tainan City 台南市 and Chiayi City 嘉義市. It is the former capital of Tainan County prior to amalgamation in 2010 and remains the second administrative seat of Tainan 台南 alongside Ānpíng 安平. Located on the broad and fertile Chianan Plain 嘉南平原, it was also an important transportation hub for the sugar industry, and what remains of the Japanese colonial era sugar factory can still be found on the south side of town. These facts—the size of the town, its former importance, and the presence of a sugar factory—suggest that Xinying was almost certainly home to several standalone movie theaters in its heyday. After doing some research online I established that this was indeed the case—and in February 2017 I swung through to investigate rumours of several old theaters. One of these turned out to be a rather unusual example of a ruined KMT authoritarian era cinema by the name of Chénggōng Theater 成功戲院.