Friday, May 22, 2009

The Sutthisan Rama Theater - Bangkok, Thailand

The Sutthisan Rama Theater is about as derelict as they come. Once a fine place to catch a flick, time and neglect have taken their toll. I could almost feel the tetanus in the air.

Interestingly, like the New York Theater detailed in the previous post, the Sutthisan Rama was once a prominent enough land mark to warrant having a street named after it - Soi Rong Nang Sutthisan Plaza.

Like so many older Thai theaters, the Sutthisan Rama was built in the middle of a commercial/residential plaza. These now mostly defunct urban forms are quite common in Bangkok and throughout the provinces, as well. As a variant of the shopping center, it seems that they slipped into obsolescence as the number of car owners rose. A lack of parking makes them impractical compared to the shopping mall with its multi-level garages, designed for easy access and departure. Maybe as mass transit expands and becomes more efficient places like this will have a sort of revival. I'm not holding my breath on that one.

Beer and whiskey bottles litter the lobby. A few people working in the court said that the Sutthisan Rama is used as a meth den for local addicts. One woman said I could go inside if I wanted. No thanks!

The Sutthisan Rama Theater is close to 40 years old, but it's been shut down for 10 years. My guess is that it struggled its way through the late 80's and most of the 90's until the Asian Financial Crisis did it in for good. The blue collar neighborhood that it's located in was likely hit hard by the crisis, and as jobs were cut, audience numbers dropped and the Sutthisan Rama died.

Apparently the owner also ran another old theater in the Sam Yan area of town, which has since found new life of some sort.

1 comment:

  1. this is such a beautiful facade, does anyone know where it is exactly?
    i've been to the site of the 'new york' sutthisan, but i've never seen this one.