Sunday, June 5, 2016
Wayang halls of old Singapore
Today I was going through some of my old books and started browsing through a Dutch volume of travels in The East Indies published in 1902. By Hugo V Pederson. The above sketch of his shows a permanent indoor location with large audience watching Chinese opera. The queues are visible so the time late Ching dynasty most likely 1898. I started thinking about accounts of large public performances I've read about.. There were 3 or 4 theatres in Singapore. The best known was most likely the one in Wayang street.
I thought what if..... and started looking for a photo of my own which after some effort I located.
This is the photo of the derelict once so popular theatre house in Wayang street. Naturally I'm considering the possibility that this exterior (from 1978) is the same location as the interior sketch shown above.
I await comments from those who can add to this . My friend Jeff and his brother were brought up in
the religious paraphernalia shop very near by in Merchant street, run by his family for generations. He might have something to say
I found out that the name of the Theatre in the picture is The Diat Hng created in 1921, so it wasnt the one sketched by Pedersen. Not many records remain of any of the theatres, but i did find this interior of the above derelict building
also there is a photo of a second theatre hall in Merchant road , before demolition was selling religion paraphernalia and porcelain.