There was before a renowned worldwide Chinese musical drama theater in the heart of Chinatown of which musical drama stars came the distance from China and Hong Kong to perform at. The theater was prominent to the point that the boulevards around it were given epithets that hover around it. Smith Street was known as Hei Yuen Kai (Theater Street), Temple Street was known as Hei Yuen Hau Kai (Back of Theater Street), and Trengganu Street was known as Hei Yuen Wang Kai (Side of Theater Street). The theater, known as Lai Chun Yuen, was situated at 36 Smith Street.
Lai Chun Yuen was implicit 1887 and outlined in the style of a conventional Chinese teahouse. It could oblige up to 800 over individuals. It organized Chinese musical drama, particularly Cantonese musical show twice every day. It was by a wide margin the most famous Chinese musical drama theater in Singapore in the late nineteenth century.
Lai Chun Yuen was outstanding as the focal point of amusement in Chinatown and proof can be seen by the accompanying record from Li Ching Chu, a Shanghai authority who distributed this in his book, A Description of Singapore in the year 1887:
"To the extent flourishing is concerned, no range in Singapore can contrast a 'More noteworthy Town'… There is a place known as Kreta Ayer in 'More prominent Town' where eateries, theater, and massage parlors are concentrated. It is the most populated zone where rottenness and soil are covered up. No place in Singapore can contrast and it."
Benefactors sat around little tables while musical show artists performed in front of an audience. Opium smoking and betting exercises additionally happened on the grounds of Lai Chun Yuen. There were additionally private work areas for circumspect exercises. Chinatown in those days was known for the whorehouses on Smith Street. Lai Chun Yuen's prominence begun melting away from 1927 onwards with the entry of motion pictures. It was in the end ceased and changed over by the Shaw Brothers into Sun Seng Cinema until it was shelled in World War II.