Xiluo Yisheng Theater 西螺一生戲院

The bland, utilitarian appearance of this old theater in Xiluo is consistent with the architectural trends of the KMT authoritarian era. The metal frames mounted on the front would have once held hand-painted movie posters.

Xīluó 西螺 is justifiably famous for its eponymous Japanese colonial era theater, located close to the architectural wonders of Yánpíng Old Street 延平老街, but this small town on the south bank of the sluggish Zhuóshuǐ River 濁水溪 was once home to two more theaters. Almost no mention of these other theaters can be found except in this news report about a local painter—but while browsing around satellite view on Google Maps I managed to locate Yīshēng Theater 一生戲院 (literally “Lifetime Theater”).

Identifying Yisheng Theater has not been straight-forward. Most of the characters on the facade are missing, introducing considerable ambiguity. A closer examination of the metal brackets that once secured the mystery characters was not conclusive. Both sources cited above cite three theaters in town: the famous Xiluo Theater and two lesser known theaters, Yuǎndōng Theater 遠東戲院 (“Far East Theater”) and Yisheng. Initially I figured this must be Yuandong Theater, for the pattern of corrosion and placement of the metal brackets suggest a full-sized character in the first position, but I was wrong. At an exhibition of the photography of Lee Kai-Ming 李開明 at Huashan Creative Park in November 2017 I noticed he had identified a completely different building as Yuandong Theater. By a process of elimination—assuming there were indeed only three theaters in town—this must be the Yisheng Theater. I later confirmed this with a local resident.

This theater was probably converted into a gambling den or seedy karaoke bar after the cinema closed.
Nothing much to see inside. The door is wide open but you’ll find only dust and footprints in here.
One last look at another abandoned theater in central Taiwan.

Without any business records to consult I am left guessing about when this theater was built and later abandoned. I’d guess this theater dates back to the 1960s or 1970s and probably went out of business in the 1990s like many other standalone theaters in central Taiwan. Evidently it was converted for use as a gambling den or seedy karaoke bar at some point, for the interior has been renovated to remove all traces of the projection room, ticket booth, and other fixtures of movie theater design. I wandered around inside for a little while but there was nothing to see—it is merely a dark and hollow shell, not at all interesting. Well, they can’t all be cool, but this one is on the rental market. Anyone fancy a use for this ugly old theater in Xiluo?

One last note: while the theater was open and accessible on my first visit it was closed the second time I stopped by to confirm the name.

Taiwan Summer Road Trip 2017 台灣中南部機車旅行

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

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