Yau Ma Tei Theatre

Yau Ma Tei Theatre (CN: 油麻地戲院) was a cinema built in 1930 and is listed as a historic building reopening as a venue dedicated to Cantonese opera. The venue is open from 1pm – 8pm daily and for events here see Urbtix.


  • Its only minutes walk from MTR Yau Mei Tei station
  • 6 min walk from Jade Market and 10 min walk from Temple St Night Market

Wikipedia Says

History of the theatre

Sources conflict over the exact year the Yaumati Theatre was completed and open to public, which fall between 1925 and 1931. The décor of the theatre has shown some hints for the opening time of it. In the late 1920s, the dominant architectural style was the Neo-classicism while the Art Deco was an emerging trend of the next decade. While the front and the proscenium arch were designed as Neo-classical style with Art Deco influence, the interior décor of the theatre is Art Deco. This provides a crucial clue that the theatre was built in the late 1920s but not the mid-1920s. Another important clue is the manufacturers’ label found on the vintage film projectors kept in the projection room. Both of them were manufactured by Strong Electric Corp. of Toledo, Ohio, USA, and one of them has a patent registration year of 1927 and 1928. From this it can be proves that the cinema was opened no earlier than 1928.

The Theatre used to be the venue of entertainment for working class citizens and was patronized by rickshaw riders, coolies and low-income families. It gradually lost customers to newer theatres in later time, particularly in the 1980s when the popularity of home video entertainment increased.[citation needed] Toward the end of its life, it screened erotic films to maintain its business. Some traditional cinemas in Hong Kong were demolished and re-developed into shopping malls and ‘mini-cinema complexes’ (a complex of small cinemas with 200 or less than 200 seats). Yaumati Theatre was not converted to either of because of its inherent spatial and technical problems of its pre-war design. In order to survive through the vigorous competition with other cinemas, Yaumati Theatre started to screen erotic films and even sold pornographic tapes in the concourse in order to increase the profit.
The theatre finally closed on 31 July 1998. In the same year, it became a Grade II historical monument and the only pre-WWII monument that survived in the Kowloon area.

Cantonese opera venue

Yaumati Theatre is the only pre-war theatre building in Hong Kong still in existence. It is now being renovated to become a permanent venue for Cantonese opera.

This conversion of Yaumati Theatre it into a Xiqu Activity Centre was proposed by the Hong Kong government in 2007 for the purpose of preserving and promoting Cantonese opera in Hong Kong, as well as facilitate the sustainable development of Cantonese opera by providing performing and practising venue for Cantonese opera troupes. According to the 2007 Policy Address, this centre will include a 300-seat auditorium, stage and multi-function rooms, with the Red Brick Building acting as a supporting facility.

Conversion works are planned to commence in the second half of 2009 and were scheduled to be completed in 2011. The venue reopened in 2012.

Source: Wikipedia


6 Waterloo Rd, Yau Ma Tei, Hong Kong

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