Nelum Pokuna Mahinda Rajapaksa Theatre

Nelum Pokuna Mahinda Rajapaksa Theatre
නෙළුම් පොකුණ මහින්ද රාජපක්ෂ රඟහල
Former names National Performing Arts Theatre
Address Ananda Coomaraswamy Mawatha, Colombo 07, Sri Lanka
Location Colombo, Sri Lanka
Coordinates 6°54′39″N 79°51′48″E / 6.91083°N 79.86333°E / 6.91083; 79.86333Coordinates: 6°54′39″N 79°51′48″E / 6.91083°N 79.86333°E / 6.91083; 79.86333
Parking 500 spaces[1]
Owner Sri Lankan Government
Type Theatre
Genre(s) Music, Concerts, Theatre, Dance, International Conferences
Capacity 2576
Built 2006–2011
Opened 15 December 2011 (2011-12-15)
Architect Kahawita De Silva & Associates[2][3]
Structural engineer Yanjian Group

The Nelum Pokuna (Lotus Pond) Mahinda Rajapaksa Theatre (Sinhalese: නෙළුම් පොකුණ මහින්ද රාජපක්ෂ රඟහල) (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.[4][5]

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

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.

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.

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.[1]

Building History

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.[8] 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.[4]

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 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.[9]

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.[10]

The venue was initially chosen to host the ABU Radio Song Festival 2014 on 23 May 2014,[11] but was later moved to the Stein Studios, in Colombo.[12]

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


The theatre from Nelum Pokuna (Lotus Pond) road 
The theatre from Horton roundabout 
The opening production 
Performer at the opening production 

See also

Notes and references

  1. 1 2 3 "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. 1 2 "Nelum Pokuna". Daily Mirror. 2011-12-15. Retrieved 2011-12-15.
  5. "A President With A Jumbo Ego". Sunday Leader. 2012-01-01. Retrieved 2016-05-14.
  6. 1 2 3 4 "A National Treasure". Retrieved 2010-05-17.
  7. 1 2 "National Performing Art Theatre soon". Retrieved 2010-05-17.
  8. Maithri more valuable to China than Mahinda. Ceylon Today. 2015-04-01. Retrieved 2015-04-12
  9. "OPENING NIGHT PERFORMANCE". Nelum Pokuna Mahinda Rajapakse Theatre. Retrieved 2011-12-20.
  11. "ABU Radio Song Festival: Festival Date Moved To May 24th". 27 December 2013. Retrieved 1 January 2014.
  12. "ABU Radio Song Festival finalists chosen". ABU. Retrieved 23 March 2014.

External links

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