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State Theatre

皇都戲院

Location: North Point
Category: Entertainment

Architect: Lau Sun-fo (劉新科) & George.W. Grey
Project year: 1952

It’s impossible to miss the State Theatre -- a grade one historic structure and dubbed the last grand post-war theatre structure still standing in the city -- thanks to its out-of-this-world roof structure. The parabolic exoskeleton truss lifts the roof and provides support to the entire building. The result is a spacious column-less auditorium that can seat more than 1,200 audiences.  The curvaton also doubles as a natural amplifier and sound isolator, creating top-notch acoustical conditions inside the auditorium. The front door façade features a bold wall relief mural by renowned contemporary Chinese artist Mei Yutian. The relief features Chinese, Southeast Asian and Greek dancers. The rest of the façade comprises of blocks of color overlapping each other, making it look less like one single mass. But first, one should learn about the cultural importance of the State Theatre. The theatre was first opened in 1952 as the Empire Theatre. It was a pioneer in bringing international art and cultural performances to town, paving way for the opening of Hong Kong’s City Hall a decade later. The Empire Theatre only operated for five years. Two years later in 1959, the complex was reopened as State Theatre. The cinema/theatre was a witness to the rise of Cantonese movies from the 70s and 80s. The theatre was closed in 1997 and reopened as a snooker and sauna facility in 2000.  Once under threat of bulldozer, the State Theatre may be preserved as its new owner New World Development Company expressed willingness to conserve the building. 

走過北角街頭,有一棟歷史悠久的建築物與眾不同,被稱為香港碩果僅存的戰後時期大型劇院建築,它就是香港古物古蹟辦事處評為一級歷史建築的皇都戲院。 皇都戲院最吸晴地方,就是它精彩的屋頂設計,以拋物線形狀的外骨骼構造為整個建築物作為支撐,使室內支柱更少,創造一個可容納1200人的寬敞表演廳;這流線型的設計,更增強演奏廳天然的擴音及隔音效果,使室內音色更清晰更剔透。 正門門頂的大型浮雕是著名當代中國藝術家梅玉田的大膽創作《蟬迷董卓》,浮雕糅合中國、東南亞和希臘風格。其餘外牆由相互重疊的顏色塊構成,把本來單調的長外牆增加趣味。 但要真正明白皇都戲院的重要性,要了解它的歷史。劇院於1952年由歐德禮先生創立,當時命名為璇宮戲院,是首個把國際藝術和文化表演帶到香港的先鋒,為香港創立一個前所未有的國際文藝平台,更為十年後才開幕的香港大會堂鋪平了道路。 璇宮戲院僅運營了五年至1957年,兩年後,該建築群重新開放為皇都戲院,印證香港70年代和80年代粵語電影及娛樂事業走過的黃金時代。皇都戲院於1997年關閉,並於2000年重新開放,改營為桌球和桑拿會所。 近年,皇都戲院受到推土機的威脅,不少團體為其發聲,到2017年,新世界發展收購皇都戲院,並表示願意保存部分皇都戲院,但皇都戲院的未來,還是有待公眾觀察。 

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