Jinzi Theater 金紫戲院

Jinzi Theater 金紫戲院 in Anxiliao 安溪寮 in Tainan County is one of those theaters that really shows how many theaters Taiwan had during the Golden Age of Cinemas. Anxiliao is a very small village outside of Xinying 新營 and in Houbi District 後壁區 but was still able to support a theater for a nearly 20 years.

The theater was built in 1956 by the Lin Family and was named after an ancestor named Lin Jinzi 林金紫. As with most theaters of the time, it showed Taiwanese and Western films as well as theater shows, Taiwanese opera 歌仔戲 and puppet shows 布袋戲 .

Ticket booth and retro timetable sign painted by students from a local university.

As with most theaters in Taiwan, it started to lose business in the early 1970s and finally closed down. The family that ran it at the time turned the theater into housing and for a time a leather bag factory. It was finally abandoned in 1986.

Last year I saw on a friend’s IG page that this was over the theater so I had to stop by over the Lunar New Year holiday and see what is up. It appears that it is just a cover and the theater is going to be restored so that’s some good news.

Not sure what will happen to the hand-painted work done by the university students. Hopefully, it will still be there.

I used to live in Xinying and try to get up to that area at least once or twice a year so I will hopefully be there again and see how the restoration job is going. Houbi District is an awesome part of Tainan and if you are ever in that area stop by Anxiliao and visit the theater and say Hi!

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