The recent opening of Capitol Theatre has us reminiscing the past — something photographer Philipp Aldrup has beautifully captured
Another integrated luxury multiplex has opened along the busy Stamford Road belt — how exciting. But before we question the need for yet another mall (hello, materialism, here's my bank account), let's just stop for a second and recollect what Capitol Singapore represents. Or rather, what it used to be.
Built in the neo-classical style, Capitol Theatre opened its doors in 1933 as Singapore's first cinema. It played host to a variety of events apart from film screenings, such as Miss Singapore pageants, cabarets, as well as the occassional snake charmer. Singapore residents even watched their first full-length 3D colour film here. Unfortunately, due to disuse, it screened its last film in 1988.
Before Capitol Singapore's major redevelopment project (which also saw the tearing down of the beloved Capitol Centre), photographer Philipp Aldrup managed to capture the essence of its then bat-infested ruins in 2011. Capturing the theatre in the vague space after its use and before the beginning of its new chapter, his photos highlight the decay, mystery and quiet of a grand dame that was abandoned for almost two decades.
It's a throwback that's slighly disconcerting, and a tad creepy. While national archives often capture the theatre's glory days — complete with attendees decked out in the fashions of the day (think: bell-bottoms and coiffed 'dos) — Aldrup's photos capture what we often forget in our race to be 'world class' and cosmopolitan: cultural sacrifice.
View more of Philipp Aldrup's fine art prints at Art Loft.