Drury Lane, George Town, Penang

Drury Lane, George Town

Drury Lane is a short narrow lane within George Town's UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was once a famous place for Bangsawan (a form of Malay theatre) and Chinese opera plays.

Drury Lane sign, George Town, Penang

Drury Lane sign. Note that this is one of the few surviving old road signs in George Town; the rectangular Malay-language street signs were used throughout Penang Island before 2008.

Today, the original New Theatre that occupies the end of Drury Lane has been revamped into a nightclub.


Drury Lane was named after the original Drury Lane in London, which, in turn, was named after Sir Robert Drury, a barrister who built his mansion at the lane. A number of theatres were built around Drury Lane, making it one of the major theatre streets in London.

In addition, the Chinese had a few names for Drury Lane, such as Sin3 Hee1tai2 in Hokkien and San Hi-Un in Cantonese. Both terms meant 'New Theatre'.


Drury Lane has been in existence since the late 19th. century, coinciding with the creation of the Bangsawan, a form of Malay theatrical performance, on Penang Island in the 1870s. Back then, Drury Lane played a similar role to its namesake in London - as the place to be to watch Bangsawan and Chinese opera performances.

Initially, the performances were staged on purpose-built opera stages. In the early 20th. century, the New Theatre replaced the older opera stages. It was often rented out to Chinese opera troupes.

Today, with its glory days as an opera venue long gone, the New Theatre has been reincarnated as a nightclub.

Political Representation

Penang State Government

N.28 Komtar State Assemblyman : Teh Lai Heng (Democratic Action Party)

Malaysian Federal Parliament

P.049 Tanjong Member of Parliament : Ng Wei Aik (Democratic Action Party)


  1. Khoo S.N., 2007. Streets of George Town, Penang. Areca Books.