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
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