Call to save famed opera house

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 09 February, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 09 February, 2012, 12:00am


District councillors and fans of Cantonese opera have petitioned the government to stop the famous Sunbeam Theatre in North Point from shutting down on February 19 to make way for a shopping mall.

Developer Yu Tai Hing bought the 80,000-square-foot property in 2003.

Eastern district councillor Jennifer Chow Kit-bing was one of those who urged the Home Affairs Bureau to step into talks with the 40-year-old theatre's landlord.

'Sunbeam helps promote Cantonese opera as a community entertainment, nurture young talents and give a platform to amateur opera troupes,' Chow said. She said its closure would be a great loss to opera fans, as Sunbeam stages more than 300 opera performances every year, and its 1,300 seats are often sold out.

In 1993, Chung Sun Sing Opera Troupe had a season of 38 full-house shows in a row, winning Sunbeam the nickname 'Hong Kong's Grand Palace for Cantonese Opera'.

New venues for Cantonese opera will be ready soon. The Ko Shan Theatre Annex in To Kwa Wan is due to open next year, and the Xiqu Centre in Yau Ma Tei in 2015.