Majestic Theatre


Majestic Theatre

 

Majestic Theatre, built in 1927, is located between People's Park Complex and Yue Hwa Department Store, along the stretch of Eu Tong Sen Street. It was a Cantonese opera house built by Eu Tong Sen, a tin mining and rubber magnate, for his wife who was a Cantonese opera fan.

History
The building was designed by Swan & Maclaren and completed in 1928. It was originally known as the Tien Yien Moh Toi Theatre and was a venue for Cantonese Opera until 1938. It was later converted into a cinema. The Shaw Brothers rented the place, renamed it the Queen's Theatre, and used it for screening the latest Cantonese blockbuster films.

The theatre was renamed Tai Hwa Opera House during World War II when the Japanese took control of it. It was used to screen Japanese propaganda films. The Japanese Occupation ended in 1945, but shortly after that, the Shaw Brothers' lease over the theatre also ended in September the same year. The new tenant was the Majestic Film Company who renamed the theatre Majestic Theatre.

During the 1950s and 60s, the theatre was not only popular among the locals but also attracted film stars from Hong Kong such as Grace Chang, Lin Dai and Ge Lan. In 1956, the late Dato Loke Wan Tho of Cathay Organisation with two partners, Wong Siew Leng and Teo Cheng Hay, bought the theatre for S$1.1 million from the Eu family. In 1983, Cathay Organisation became the sole owner after they bought out the partnership. The theatre continued screening Chinese films until 1998 when it was closed.

Description
The Majestic Theatre is one of the prominent landmarks in Chinatown. The building is a mixture of Western and Chinese architectural styles. Its façade is decorated with tiled scenes from Cantonese opera and shiny and colourful mosaics which show flying dragons with heads and tails connected. Its interior is typical of an opera house, a cavernous hallway with a huge doomed ceiling, and just below the ceiling, there is a logo of the letter "M" for Majestic. The theatre was built to accommodate a seating capacity of 1,194 seats.

On 17 January 2003, the Majestic Theatre was re-opened but as a shopping mall and renamed "The Majestic". A total amount of S$8 million had been spent on renovating the three-storey mall. Retailers such as BreadTalk, Hang Ten and Popular Bookstore now occupy the building.



Author
Heirwin Md Nasir



References 
Samuel, D. S. (1991). Singapore heritage's: Through places of historical interest (p. 81). Singapre: Elixir Consultancy Service.
(Call no.: RSING 959357 SAM)

Chiam, C., & Cheong, S. W. (2003, May 7). Go on, Step out for Singapore. The Straits Times, p. 1.

Krist, B. (2002, July 3). Majestic again. The Straits Times, Home, p. 1.

Lim, K. T.(1991). Cathay: 55 years of cinema (pp. 30-31). Singapore: Landmark Books.
(Call no.: RSING 791.43095957 LIM) 

Loh, H. Y. (2003, January 18). Majestic Theatre's back. The Straits Times, Life!, p. 2.

Ong, S. F. (2003, May 22). Free movies.The Straits Times, Life!, p. 18.

Singapore Film Society. (2003). Cathay film classics at the Majestic. Retrieved June 9, 2003, from www.sfs.org.sg/2003-05cathay.html


Further Readings
Chinatown: An album of a Singapore community (pp.140-142). (1983). Singapore: Times Books International.
(Call no.: RSING 779.995957 CHI)

Edwards, N., & Keys, P. (1996). Singapore: A guide to buildings, streets, places (p. 503). Singapore: Times Books International.
(Call no.: RSING 915.957 EDW)

Savage, V. R. (2003). Toponymics (pp.122-123). Singapore: Eastern Universities Press.
(Call no.: RSING 915.9570014 SAV)

Singapore Chronicles: A special commemorative history of Singapore (p. 111). (1995). Hong Kong: Illustrated Magazine.
(Call no.: RSING 959.57 SIN) 

Song, O. S. (1984). One hundred years' history of the Chinese in Singapore (pp. 332-333). Singapore: Oxford University Press.
(Call no.:RSING 959.57 SON)

Tan, S. (1990). Streets of old Chinatown (p. 62). Singapore: Page Media.
(Call no.: RSING 915.957 TAN)




The information in this article is valid as at 1999 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history on the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.

Subject
Architecture and Landscape>>Building Types>>Historic Buildings
Theaters--Singapore
Historic buildings--Singapore
Arts>>Theatre
Arts>>Architecture>>Public and commercial buildings

All Rights Reserved. National Library Board Singapore 2004.