Nelum Pokuna Mahinda Rajapaksa Theatre
|නෙළුම් පොකුණ මහින්ද රාජපක්ෂ රඟහල|
|Owner||Sri Lankan Government|
|Opened||15 December 2011|
|Architect||Kahawita De Silva & Associates|
The Nelum Pokuna (Lotus Pond) Mahinda Rajapaksa Theatre (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.
The theatre is also surrounded by several five star hotels and other commercial establishments, making the venue an ideal location for international gatherings.
Design and features
The architecture of the building is inspired by the 12th-century Nelum Pokuna (Lotus Pond) in Polonnaruwa. Built by King Parakramabahu the Great, Polonnaruwa's Nelum Pokuna is shaped as a stylised eight-petalled lotus flower.
The building spreads over 14,000 square metres of floor area.
The theatre is equipped with ultra modern facilities such as an auditorium with 1,288 seats, a library, and training facilities. 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.
The 690-square-metre moving stage in the auditorium includes the ability to raise and lower the orchestra pit to and from stage level. There are facilities to conduct educational and research activities. Parking for 500 vehicles, is also available.
In 2005 China expressed willingness to construct a cultural theatre in Colombo, in memory of President Chandrika Kumaratunga's late husband Vijaya Kumaratunga who was a popular actor. The National Performing Arts Theatre's construction began in 2006 and took four years to build. The theatre's construction was completed around early 2011 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.
Notable shows, productions, and events
The Nelum Pokuna Theatre has shows, productions, and other bookings scheduled through September 2012.
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.
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.
The Nelum Pokuna Theatre was the site of the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2013.
Notes and references
- "Rs. 2,430 m Performing Arts Theatre at Nomads Grounds". Daily News. 22 May 2008.
- "Selected Projects". Kahawita De Silva & Associates. Retrieved 2011-12-04.
- "Design Awards". Kahawita De Silva & Associates. Retrieved 2011-12-04.
- Alwis, Harsha. "Nelum Pokuna Performing Arts Theatre Opens Today". DM Graphics Desk. Retrieved 2011-12-15.
- "Nelum Pokuna". Daily Mirror. 2011-12-15. Retrieved 2011-12-15.
- "A National Treasure". Retrieved 2010-05-17.
- "National Performing Art Theatre soon". Retrieved 2010-05-17.
- Maithri more valuable to China than Mahinda. Ceylon Today. 2015-04-01. Retrieved 2015-04-12
- "OPENING NIGHT PERFORMANCE". Nelum Pokuna Mahinda Rajapakse Theatre. Retrieved 2011-12-20.
- "ABU Radio Song Festival: Festival Date Moved To May 24th". Eurovoix.com. 27 December 2013. Retrieved 1 January 2014.
- "ABU Radio Song Festival finalists chosen". ABU. Retrieved 23 March 2014.