16 Jun BRINGING THE MAJESTY BACK TO MAJESTIC THEATRE
In 2016, there was a lot of buzz about the Majestic Theatre Penang reopening its doors after a few decades of being left alone. Old-timers waxed nostalgic about its heyday; new generations watched in anticipation for a new avenue to explore. But how much do YOU know about this building’s rich legacy?
The Majestic Theatre Penang first opened its doors in 1926, consequently becoming the first “talkies” theatre in the region. The theatre soon grew to become a favourite hangout for friends, couples and friends, thriving for nearly a century. As the millennium drew to a close, however, it became apparent that the theatre was stumbling to keep up with the times, bringing about its final curtain call in the 1990s.
As luck would have it, the building caught the eye of boutique property developer 1919 Global, which then set out to lovingly restore it to its former glory. Today, the main hall can house up to 800 seats or 60 banquets. The iconic building has been redesigned to feature generous spaces that are perfect for any functions, from wedding to exhibitions.
The theatre is presently a hive of activities, playing host to movie filming and screenings, and various other events that take advantage of the old-world glamour that the building exudes. In 2016 alone, it was used as a studio to film the world’s first Penang Hokkien movie, You Mean the World to Me, by Penang-born filmmaker, Saw Teong Hin; three of the 2016 George Town Festival’s sold-out shows, i.e. Melbourne International Comedy Festival, All That Fall and Smashed, were held there; and from late 2016 until January 2017, a series of six community screenings showcasing movies from the past and present, collectively named the Majestic Revival, was held.
Consequently, today the historic theatre continues to forge full speed ahead, fast establishing itself as a firm favourite among those looking for a contemporary venue equipped with state-of-the-art facilities and oozing with old-world charm for their special events.