Wujie 五結

Wǔjié 五結 is a rural township along the Yilan seaboard just east of Luódōng 羅東. Apart from its coastal wetlands and parks the township is mostly known for Lìzéjiǎn Old Street 利澤簡老街, a short stretch of colonial buildings and old temples.

Lize Theater 利澤戲院

The 1960s vintage Lize Theater from across the street.

The obscure Lìzé Theater 利澤戲院 is located in the village of Lìzéjiǎn 利澤簡 in Wujie, a rural township just east of Luódōng 羅東 in Yilan, Taiwan 台灣. Built in 1964, it once served as a cinema and playhouse, hosting a variety of films and live theater performances for the local populace before slipping into decline in the 1980s, a little earlier than most other theaters I’ve visited around the nation. Afterwards the theater was converted for use as a clothing factory but this also went out of business. Nowadays the building is more disused than abandoned, as descendants of the original owner are still making use of the structure for storage and other purposes. In a stroke of good luck I happened to visit while the door was open—and after communicating my interest in the history of old theaters in Taiwan I was invited in for a brief chat and look around. Each theater has its own story to tell—but in this case I was particularly interested in learning why a theater was built in such a small and seemingly unimportant village.