Yau Ma Theatre Re-Opens Former Porn Venue to Host Cantonese Opera

[09/05/12] 

Hong Kong’s seedier past is largely brushed over by its synthetic skyscrapers so we’re delighted to reveal the Yau Ma Tei theatre has re-opened for Cantonese Opera. What’s particularly special about the re-furb is that it was formerly a porn theatre, one of the funnier sides of adult entertainment. The thought of a very public theatre showing very private business, while the patrons get up to god knows what (sitting next to each other) is surreal comedy at its best. Can you imagine being one of the cleaners?

Hong Kong’s newest xiqu venue holds 300 people and couldn’t be more different. The state-of-the-art auditorium features a stage with an orchestra pit, a dressing room, a sound and lighting control room, a foyer and a box office. Apart from hosting performances, it’s also equipped for rehearsals which will be invaluable for developing opera troupes. Just make sure you don’t sit downhill near the screen. Who knows what sludge has flowed down those aisles.

Built in 1930, the art deco structure is the only surviving pre-World War II theatre in Kowloon, and although it doesn’t officially open until July, there are a couple of warm up events planned for May 20 & 26 including a lecture demonstration of Cantonese opera. It’s nice to see HK preserving a little bit of its architectural and cultural heritage, especially for all those lads who killed half an hour in there. We're sure they’ll be grinning inside when they go to the opera with their wives.

Ye old faithful.


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