Myanmar CinemaCinema Myanmar
Upcoming: New look for the oldest cinema
Myanmar Motion Picture Association (MMPA) is considering the renovation of Waziya Cinema, a historic 1950-build. The oldest cinema in Yangon, it is situated in the center of the town along Bogyoke Aung San Street, formerly known as "Cinema Series". The Myanmar Motion Picture Enterprise under the Ministry of Information rented the cinema to MMPA in 1999.
In the meantime, the rental agreement has lapsed and the cinema has been in operation since March this year. The MMPO is now turning to the Department to renew the agreement and refurbish the property, said U Htay Aung, the group's general Secretary. "We' re going to refurbish the interior and exterior," he said, and added that the house was constructed 65 years ago and is in a poor state.
"Cinema began showing movies in 1999. According to a MMPA spokesman, the renovation plans for the property are only in the bidding phase. The MMPA will deploy a Digital Cinema Package (DCP) system and open stores in the cinema if the government clears the scheme, a spokesman said.
"of Waziya Cinema is currently in the custody of the High School. We' ve got some cosmopolitan backing to refurbish the cinema while still maintaining the old style," said the MMPA spokesman. The Yangon Heritage Trust (YHT) advises MMPA on "the most appropriate ways to preserve the property while at the same time prepare it for a new lease of humanity in Yangon", the website says.
On 2 July, the Assistant Secretary of Information visited the cinema and said that the Secretary was ready to put the suggestion into practice. "He said that the secretary was determined to do this, so I looked at the state of the property and reviewed the blueprints. Wizaya Cinema has three and a half floors.
In the case of cinema rentals, the groundfloor was used as a shop. They still have 15 stores that have 15 years on their leases, but they will move when the property is refurbished. "We' ve been negotiating with the store owners who have declared their willingness to move once the property is fixed.
You have no right to demand this by statute, but we are in negotiations about a good result," said U Lu Min, chairman of MMPA. Formerly known as Excelsior, Waziya Cinema is the last theater to be set up on a former "cinema series" with around six film theatres.
YHT says it began as living theater, but was converted into a cinema in the 1960'. In 1968 the movie business was nationalized and in 1985 Waziya became a theater. Yangon's historical theaters are quickly a thing of the past as privately owned companies that have taken possession of the formerly state-run theaters decide to tear them down in favor of profitable new developments.
Half of the 20 army theatres that once operated throughout the town were closed or torn down, with some being substituted by condominium apartments and retailing areas where the theatres once were located.