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Friday, 16 December 2011

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Nelum Pokuna - From China with Love

President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday opened the country's first state-of the-artPerforming Arts Theatre - the Nelum Pokuna (Lotus Pond) Mahinda Rajapaksa Theatre gifted by the People's Republic of China. The Rs 3,600 million theatre is poised to be a catalyst for a revival of the arts in the region and bring renewed vitality to take Performing Arts to greater heights.

The opening of the theatre symbolized the centuries old friendship between China and Sri Lanka. President Rajapaksa unveiled a plaque to open the theatre in the presence of Chinese Special Envoy Zhang Meiying,

Vice Chairperson of the National Committee of Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference of the People's Republic of China while the members of the Maha Sangha chanted Seth Pirith.

The guests were conducted to the theatre's main auditorium in a colourful procession consisting of over 500 traditional dancers. The first dance titled The voyage to heartland produced by artistes Jayantha Chandrasiri, Rohana Weerasinghe and Channa Wijewardena was staged soon after the speeches by the President and the Chinese Special Envoy.

This drama revolved on Chinese monk Fa Hsien who travelled from China to Sri Lanka in the 4th Century in search of Theravada Buddhism. It was an attempt to show a fraction of his venture to search Vinaya Pitakaya, a part of the Thripitakaya.

A Chinese troupe staged a special show titled Romance on 'Marine Silk Road' which had won the best artistic works prize by Publicity Department of CPC central committee, Special Osmanthus Prize of Guangxi Dramas and Operas Expo and Copper Drum Award of Guangxi People's Government Arts Creation.

This drama depicted the ancient China marine silk route leading to the west underlying the context of the love story between Da Pu and Ah Ban while displaying the friendship with Marisa, daughter of the king of Sri Lanka. This theatre can seat over 1,300 people in the main auditorium with an adjustable stage and best- in- class theatrical and sound equipment suitable for broadway shows. It is designed as the Nelum Pokuna or (Lotus Pond) of Polonnaruwa.

This theatre which is dedicated to showcasing the best of local, regional and national artistes will become a springboard to achieve excellence in their desired discipline. It consists of a main theatre, two mini theatres, operational units, meeting and dressing halls. An underground car park has also been constructed for artistes and visitors.

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