Nelum Pokuna Mahinda Rajapaksa Theatre

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Nelum Pokuna Mahinda Rajapaksa Theatre
නෙළුම් පොකුණ මහින්ද රාජපක්ෂ රඟහල
Nelum Pokuna Mahinda Rajapaksa Theatre logo
Nelum Pokuna Mahinda Rajapaksa Theatre
Address Colombo
Sri Lanka
Parking 500 spaces[1]
Owner Sri Lankan government
Opened 15 December 2011
Architect Kahawita De Silva & Associates[2][3]

The Nelum Pokuna (Lotus Pond) Mahinda Rajapaksa Theatre[4] (often known simply as Nelum Pokuna Theatre; previously the National Performing Arts Theatre, prior to naming at the opening ceremony) is a performing arts centre in Colombo, Sri Lanka. The theatre opened on 15 December 2011.[5]

Design and features[edit]

Detail of the facade

The architecture of the building is inspired by the 12th-century Nelum Pokuna (Lotus Pond) in Polonnaruwa.[6] Built by King Parakramabahu the Great, Polonnaruwa's Nelum Pokuna is shaped as a stylised eight-petalled lotus flower.[4]

The total estimated cost of the project is LKR 3080 million.[7] Government of the People's Republic of China provided LKR 2430 million out of the total cost of the building.[6]

The building spreads over 14,000 square metres of floor area.[6]

The theatre is equipped with ultra modern facilities such as an auditorium with 1,288 seats, a library, and training facilities.[1] The building features two permanent theatres—the main auditorium and an open-air theatre—and the ability to convert the front steps into an additional open-air theatre.[4]

The 690-square-metre moving stage in the auditorium includes the ability to raise and lower the orchestra pit to and from stage level.[4] There are facilities to conduct educational and research activities. Parking for 500 vehicles, is also available.[1]


The National Performing Arts Theatre's construction began in 2006 and took four years to build.[7] The theatre's construction was completed around early 2011[6] and it was opened in December 2011. It was ceremonially opened by Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse and China's Vice President of the Chinese Republican Committee, Sang Chiang.[5]

Notable shows and productions[edit]

The Nelum Pokuna Theatre has shows, productions, and other bookings scheduled through September 2012.[4]

For opening night, an opera was produced by leading Sri Lanka artistes, such as Jayantha Chandrasiri, Rohana Weerasingha and Channa Wijewardena. A Chinese opera was also produced upon opening. The Chinese opera depicted the story of fourth-century Chinese-Buddhist monk Fa-Hsien's travels to Sri Lanka. Both performances employed the Seda Mawatha concept, incorporating both film and drama.[8] In November 2013, the Theatre hosted its first symphony orchestra concert, by the Commonwealth Festival Orchestra, with 87 musicians from the UK, India and the Symphony Orchestra of Sri Lanka, conducted by James Ross.[9]

The venue will host the ABU Radio Song Festival 2014 on 24 May 2014.[10]

Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2013[edit]

The Nelum Pokuna (Lotus Pond) Mahinda Rajapakse Theatre was the site of the opening ceremony of CHOGM 2013. The facility is a fully equipped, sate-of-the-art performance centre, meant for large-scale theatrical productions. Situated in the heart of Colombo, this modern architectural masterpiece facilitates easy access for both local and foreign events. The theatre is also surrounded by several five star hotels and other commercial establishments, making the venue an ideal location for international gatherings.


Theatre at the twilight 
Illuminated theatre 
Flags at the Nelum Pokuna 
The theatre from Nelum Pokuna (Lotus Pond) road 
The theatre from Horton roundabout 
At night 
Performer at the opening production 
The opening production 
The auditorium 
The stage 
The theatre

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Rs. 2,430 m Performing Arts Theatre at Nomads Grounds". Daily News. 22 May 2008. 
  2. ^ "Selected Projects". Kahawita De Silva & Associates. Retrieved 2011-12-04. 
  3. ^ "Design Awards". Kahawita De Silva & Associates. Retrieved 2011-12-04. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Alwis, Harsha. "Nelum Pokuna Performing Arts Theatre Opens Today". DM Graphics Desk. Retrieved 2011-12-15. 
  5. ^ a b "Nelum Pokuna". Daily Mirror. 2011-12-15. Retrieved 2011-12-15. 
  6. ^ a b c d "A National Treasure". Retrieved 2010-05-17. 
  7. ^ a b "National Performing Art Theatre soon". Retrieved 2010-05-17. 
  8. ^ "OPENING NIGHT PERFORMANCE". Nelum Pokuna Mahinda Rajapakse Theatre. Retrieved 2011-12-20. 
  9. ^
  10. ^ "ABU Radio Song Festival: Festival Date Moved To May 24th". 27 December 2013. Retrieved 1 January 2014. 

External links[edit]