Daily News Online

Wednesday, 14 December 2011



Rise of the Lotus

Sri Lankan artistes' unexpressed talents will soon blossom with the Chinese ultramodern technology in Lotus Pond Mahinda Rajapaksa Theatre. It will be a great national asset to the Performing Art sector of the country which will enhance the quality of the art.

Rohana Weerasinghe

Jackson Anthony
Ravindra Randeniya
Channa Wijewardane
Jayantha Chandrasiri

“This will be a new experience and this would give a new opening to our aesthetic sector. A cherished gift from China this is a reality as a result of successful diplomatic relationship between President Rajapaksa and Chinese government,” Mass Media and Information Ministry Secretary W B Ganegala said.

The theatre is constructed according to the model of the historic lotus pond (Nelum Pokuna) in Polonnaruwa using the modern Chinese technology. It possesses all facilities to rank it among the best 10 theatres of the world.

The theatre is of seven floors with a seating capacity of 1288 in the main auditorium. The stage is movable and it is fully computerized with an area of 690 metres. There is an open theatre in the fifth floor. Two exhibition halls are in the fourth floor. Theatre consists of some music training rooms and 13 changing rooms.

The theatre is equipped with the latest digital echo stick sound technology, lighting and all other desired facilities. The close circuit TV network enables observation of the stage from the dressing rooms.

And there are many safety features as well. Artistes are provided with necessary facilities such as personal dressing rooms and dressing tables to perform in a better way.

To remark the opening ceremony of the theatre, an opera will be staged by the artistes which will basically highlight the historical relationships between Sri Lanka and China. It would be about the Silk Road through which the two countries had connection in the early history. The opera is directed by Jayantha Chandrasiri and music direction by Rohana Weerasingha while dancing is created by Channa Wijewardane. A Chinese opera will also be staged.

This will be a landmark in the development of the performing art theatre industry which will help lead county to produce operas to the international talent.

“This is a long felt need and a dream of our artistes. We always wanted this type of standard theatre to stage our talents perfectly. This is built to the international standard. We should be thankful to the Chinese government for this valuable gift. This gift clearly shows the president's success at diplomatic relations with China,” Rohana Weerasinghe said.

Opera Pictures by Sudath Nishantha

“The theatre undoubtedly can be ranked among the best 10 theatres of the world with latest facilities. This is the dream theatre of local artistes. We could not stage the world famous pieces of arts such as Swan Lake, London Philharmonic orchestra due to the absence of a modern theatre.

We were really backward and our artistes did not have a chance to perform their best. We should have this type of an identical theatre to represent the country's aesthetic value. This is a great assert to uplift the local art with the capabilities of the skillful artistes,” Ravindra Randeniya said.

“We were lacking a professional art theatre in Sri Lanka though we always possess artistes with outstanding talents. The only place we had was Tower Hall Theatre.

This new theatre will help enhance the standard of opera in Sri Lanka.

We are grateful to the Chinese government for this precious gift which notes the cultural and spiritual historical relations between Sri Lanka and China,” said Jayantha Chandrasiri.

“We were dreaming of a theatre like Sydney Opera House or London Palace Theatre. Today our dream has become a reality. We will soon experience the high technology based stage and all other facilities to bring out outstanding work of arts to entertain the long waited Sri Lankan aesthetic audience. We are now capable to take the maximum usage of our talents. I would like to call this the ‘late spring’.” Jackson Anthony said.

“This is what we desired. It is fully technology-based where we would perform our best. It will enhance the country's performing art sector. Being dancers, we need some specific conditions to perform in a better way. With this modern stage we will be free to go to our maximum scope,” Channa Wijeardane said.


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