The Performing Arts Theatre in Colombo which is equipped with the state of the art facilities for performers will be declared open on Thursday by President Mahinda Rajapaksa. It will also be named after him as the ‘Lotus Pond Mahinda Rajapaksa Theatre.’
It will be landmark in the country’s development in the field of performing theatre.
The opening ceremony will see performances by both Sri Lankan and Chinese performers who will trace the visit to the island by fifth century travelling Chinese monk Fa-Hsien who had visited the country as part of a quest to gather knowledge on Buddhism.
The funding for the construction of the theatre came by way of a grant from the People’s Republic of China, on a request made by the Sri Lankan Government to enhance the long-lasting friendship between the two nations.
The agreement for the construction was signed between the Sri Lankan Government and the Yanjian Group Company limited of China on March 15, 2006 following which construction started at the site at Ananda Coomaraswamy Mawatha, Colombo 7, on the former Nomads cricket grounds.
The Performing Arts Theatre will not be limited to artistic performances but will be a venue for conferences, festivals, exhibitions as well.
It is equipped with a modern system of lighting, sound system, stage and seating facilities with an air-conditioned auditorium, rehearsal room, dressing rooms, ticketing rooms, wash rooms and cafeteria.
The theatre consists of five floors above ground and two floors below ground level while the main auditorium has three tiers. The total seating capacity is 1,288.
The theatre also has several safety features such a closed-circuit TV system consisting of 38 cameras and nine displays. Most of the cameras have been fixed at the entrance and exit doors. It also has a heat and smoke detection and general alarm system.
There is also an underground car park with a proper parking management system. The theatre is also equipped with an emergency power system with a high powered generator capable of supplying emergency power within 15 seconds of a power failure.