New World Development earlier announced a meticulous conservation project to restore the Grade I historic site, after consolidating ownership of the 68-year-old State Theatre.
Before launching a complete architectural conservation of the theatre in May, Culture for Tomorrow, a non-profit organization under the New World Group, has staged an immersive event for visitors to take part in and explore the exclusive story of one of the city’s iconic theatres.
Adrian Cheng, CEO of New World Development and the founder of Culture for Tomorrow, said he hopes members of the public will experience firsthand the glorious past of the State Theatre through this immersive event.
“With our conservation project, the State Theatre will return once again as a culture and arts landmark with more riveting stories to tell. The theatre’s history may have faded through time, but its story is far from over,” said Cheng.
With the group starting to collect relics and memorabilia of the theatre three years ago, over 100 artifacts will be exhibited in the event to introduce the cultural landscape of the old days.
Those include movie handbills from the 1950s, old tickets and midnight screenings, tickets of the balcony and stall seats, as well as staff uniforms.
Winnie Yeung, Head of Heritage Management of New World Development, said with the ongoing process of formulating a plan for conservation and development, there is still much work to do.
“Our team is hoping to fully present the 68 years of State Theatre to Hongkongers. We are still conducting structural surveys to see which parts within the building will be conserved and open for public viewing,” said Yeung.
However, she said their team is still looking into if the iconic parabolic exoskeleton truss at the roof will be opened for public viewing, citing safety concerns.
Meanwhile, for the immersive event, visitors will first be welcomed by staff at the box office of the old days, where they will receive a vintage-style movie ticket. Six movie ticket artifacts will also be showcased at the box office.
Led by staff in theatre uniforms, visitors will then be told the history of the building, immerse themselves in the State Theatre Shopping Arcade with old movie poster and lightboxes on both sides of the wall, walk through a time tunnel of special projection installations, lighting and musical effects to savor the history of the State Theatre in the last century.
The event will run from April 1 to April 30 every day starting at 10am.
According to New World Development, the event is an exclusive event for Culture for Tomorrow members, but members of the public can sign up for the event for free at their official website. Virtual online tours will also be made available starting from mid-April.