Theatre heritage in pre-WWII Hong Kong: A postcolonial reading

Leung Kwok Prudence LAU, Pak Yin Ophios CHOW

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review


This paper aims to delineate the transformation of theatre design in Hong Kong, which was initially born out of Chinese settlements, through socio-cultural dimensions. It studies the factors that altered the design of theatre buildings from the early colonial years in the 1860s to around the second World War in the late 1930s. By adopting a postcolonial analytical framework as well as interpretive-historical and archival research methods to examine primary resources including government documents, historical photos and drawings, interviewing descendants of cinema operators and architects, as well as film archivists and architectural historians, this paper details how socio-cultural factors evolving building regulations and the local industry had impacted upon the transition of theatre architecture over half a century, witnessing indigenous efforts that resisted certain colonial narratives in the design process. The paper also scrutinises what potentials the architectures, demolished or still existing, can serve in the context of theatre heritage in postcolonial Hong Kong. Copyright © 2023 The Author(s).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1141-1157
JournalInternational Journal of Heritage Studies
Issue number11
Early online dateAug 2023
Publication statusPublished - 2023


Lau, P. L. K., & Chow, O. P. Y. (2023). Theatre heritage in pre-WWII Hong Kong: A postcolonial reading. International Journal of Heritage Studies, 29(11), 1141-1157.


  • Theatre heritage
  • Postcolonial
  • Hong Kong
  • Pre-world war II


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