Shanghai’s Lyceum Theatre – from Star Nations News℠ Editor

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This is a personal story from your Star Nations News℠ Editor (John) who has brought you more than 4,000 links and articles on this platform, with thousands of these articles posted while he lived in Asia for many years (mostly in lovely Taiwan)… And yes, your Editor speaks Mandarin.

This is a story of a charming specimen of Western architecture in Shanghai, China – a modern metropolis that was host to a diverse Western population a hundred years ago.

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“I lived in Shanghai in the late-1990’s, when there were perhaps only several hundred western foreigners in a city of 17 million Chinese citizens.

Anyway, below are “then and now” photos of Shanghai’s Lyceum Theatre, where my crazy Australian work colleague held a birthday party in 1995.

Back in those days in China, cell phones were pretty rare, so conventional land-line rotary dial phones or fax was the only way to get the word around town. My colleague sent a hand-written fax to seven friends telling everyone the details of his birthday party.

I exclaimed to him, “You only sent this message to so few people, yet we’re getting ready to host a party for hundreds! We’re going to have an empty house!” He calmly replied, “The western folks here are SO desperate for a REAL WESTERN-STYLE PARTY. So they’ll tell all their friends. Just wait and see!”

Well, he was right. We estimated about 250 people showed up!

Men and women from many western nations showed up, and they brought their open-minded local citizen friends with them. Among the many happy local citizens that showed was my then-girlfriend, the lovely Ms. Evelyn Hou 候禕雯 (also pictured below).

Believe me, we were very busy dancing, serving beverages and playing music until the weeeee hours of the morning!”

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More info on Shanghai’s Lyceum Theater:

Located in the Hangpu district. The first Lyceum Theatre was a wooden European style live theatre. It was opened in 1866/67. The theatre was located at 185 Yanmingyuan Road. At the end of 1870 it was destroyed by fire.

In 1874 the Lyceum Theatre was rebuilt using brick and was now located at 57 Maoming Lu. The seating was located in orchestra & balcony levels. This Lyceum Theatre was designed by architects Atkinson & Dallas.

In 1933 it was equipped with a sound system and movies were being screened. After 1945 it was in use as a live theatre again with performances of the Peking Opera. In 1952 it was re-named Shanghai Arts Theatre.

In 1992 it reverted back to its Lyceum Theatre name. In 2020 renovations began to bring the theatre back to its 1930’s appearance.


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