Nelum Pokuna Mahinda Rajapaksa Theatre

Coordinates: 6°54′39″N 79°51′48″E / 6.91083°N 79.86333°E / 6.91083; 79.86333
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Nelum Pokuna Mahinda Rajapaksa Theatre
නෙළුම් පොකුණ මහින්ද රාජපක්ෂ රඟහල
Nelum Pokuna Mahinda Rajapaksa Theatre is located in Greater Colombo
Nelum Pokuna Mahinda Rajapaksa Theatre
Nelum Pokuna Mahinda Rajapaksa Theatre
Location in greater Colombo
Former namesNational Performing Arts Theatre
AddressAnanda Coomaraswamy Mawatha, Colombo 07, Sri Lanka
LocationColombo, Sri Lanka
Coordinates6°54′39″N 79°51′48″E / 6.91083°N 79.86333°E / 6.91083; 79.86333
Parking500 spaces[1]
OwnerGovernment of Sri Lanka
Genre(s)Music, concerts, theatre, dance, international conferences
Opened15 December 2011 (2011-12-15)
ArchitectKahawita De Silva & Associates[2][3]
Structural engineerYanjian Group

The Nelum Pokuna Theatre (Sinhala: නෙළුම් පොකුණ මහින්ද රාජපක්ෂ රඟහල, nelum pokuna rangahala; often known as Nelum Pokuna; previously the National Performing Arts Theatre, prior to naming at the opening ceremony after which the President Mahinda Rajapaksa named it after himself)[4] is a performing arts centre in Colombo, Sri Lanka. The theatre opened on 15 December 2011.[5]

Design and features[edit]

The total estimated cost of the project is LKR 3,080 million.[6] Government of the People's Republic of China provided LKR 2430 million out of the total cost of the building.[7]

The building spreads over 14,000 m2 (150,000 sq ft) of floor area.[7]

The theatre is equipped with 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.

The 690 m2 (7,400 sq ft) 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.[1]

Building history[edit]

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 foundation stone was laid to the project by her.[8][9] The National Performing Arts Theatre's construction began in 2006 and took four years to build.[6] The theatre's construction was completed around early 2011[7] 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]

During the opening the Ananda Coomaraswamy Mawatha was renamed to Nelum Pokuna Mawatha, later reverted to Ananda Coomaraswamy Mawatha.[10]

Notable shows, productions, and events[edit]

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 Weerasinghe and Channa Wijewardena, starting with a rendition of Jagan Mohini Madura Bashini by Pandith Amaradeva. 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.[11]

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.[12]

The venue was initially chosen to host the ABU Radio Song Festival 2014 on 23 May 2014,[13] but was later moved to the Stein Studios, in Colombo.[14]

The Nelum Pokuna Theatre was the site of the opening ceremony of the 2013 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.[15]


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. Archived from the original on 18 October 2012.
  2. ^ "Selected Projects". Kahawita De Silva & Associates. Archived from the original on 2012-04-05. Retrieved 2011-12-04.
  3. ^ "Design Awards". Kahawita De Silva & Associates. Archived from the original on 2012-04-05. Retrieved 2011-12-04.
  4. ^ "A President With A Jumbo Ego". Sunday Leader. 2012-01-01. Archived from the original on 2016-06-10. Retrieved 2016-05-14.
  5. ^ a b "Nelum Pokuna". Daily Mirror. 2011-12-15. Archived from the original on 2012-01-07. Retrieved 2011-12-15.
  6. ^ a b "National Performing Art Theatre soon". Archived from the original on 2010-05-19. Retrieved 2010-05-17.
  7. ^ a b c "A National Treasure". Retrieved 2010-05-17.
  8. ^ "MR REJECTS PRESIDENT'S CLAIMS ON NELUM POKUNA :". Archived from the original on 2017-02-26. Retrieved 2017-02-25.
  9. ^ "Ceylon Today | Maithri more valuable to China than Mahinda". 2016-09-19. Archived from the original on 2016-09-19. Retrieved 2017-02-25.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  10. ^ ”Ananda Coomaraswamy Mawatha” re-born by Staff Writer,, 10 February 2015
  11. ^ "OPENING NIGHT PERFORMANCE". Nelum Pokuna Mahinda Rajapakse Theatre. Archived from the original on 2012-01-07. Retrieved 2011-12-20.
  12. ^ "James Ross – conducting in Sri Lanka".
  13. ^ "ABU Radio Song Festival: Festival Date Moved To May 24th". 27 December 2013. Retrieved 1 January 2014.
  14. ^ "ABU Radio Song Festival finalists chosen". ABU. Retrieved 23 March 2014.
  15. ^ Category: Chogm 2013. "SriLankan ready to welcome the attendees of CHOGM 2013". Archived from the original on 2 December 2013. Retrieved 2013-11-17.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)

External links[edit]