Criterion Theatre & Esplanade, Durban, South Africa


Esplanade, showing Criterion Theatre, Durban

Google Street View

The Criterion Cinema seen in the picture was on the corner of Field Street, now Joe Slovo Street, and the Embankment. It was built as a music hall, was designed by architects Stucke and Harrison and opened on May 20, 1912. The popular Durban venue was used by a number of South African theatre companies as well as visiting companies such as the Old Vic. The Criterion is also mentioned in the 1938 Lawrie’s Directory of the Cinemas in Durban. At that time the city had a total of 11 cinemas or theatres. And entrance was 7p. It was demolished in 1953 and replaced by Bay Towers, a 12-floor block.
THEN & NOW: When it cost 7p to go to the movies

Chinese Theatre Hall, Singapore


The Chinese Theatre Hall, Singapore,
c.1910

The Chinese Theatre Hall at Eu Tong Sen Street was known as the Heng Wai Sun Theatre Hall. After 1922, it was known as Sing Phing Theatre Hall.
National Archives of Singapore

Some web site put the theatre Near or next to the old Thong Chai Medical Institution, which is located here (Google Maps). National Library Board of Singapore has a photo captioned “This is a photograph of shoppers walking past the square bounded by People’s Park Complex (right) and the 10-storey OG Building (left) in Chinatown. OG Building housed the OG Department Store and was built on the site of Heng Wai Sun Theatre (1930s),” which seems to be about here. While both locations are in the same general area of Eu Tong See Street, they’re about 400 metres apart. Maybe one day someone who actually knows will came by and fix it.

From Wikipedia:
Eu Tong Sen Street is named after the tycoon, Eu Tong Sen who was a miner, rubber estate and a property owner. He was one of the richest men in Malaya and Singapore, and was born in Penang, Malaya in 1877. He set up a bank known as Lee Wah Bank which catered to the Cantonese, but was merged with the United Overseas Bank due to financial issues. The road was formerly part of the expunged Wayang Street, and it received its present name in 1919 as he rebuilt the street and acquired two Chinese opera theatres, known as Heng Seng Peng and Heng Wai Sun.

If that’s the road construction shown on the postcard, then it might c.1920, but that seems a bit late.