Nelum Pokuna Theatre in Colombo set to break boundaries

Sri Lanka’s most state of the art performing arts centre, built with Chinese assistance, is looking to make a mark in the international arena as one of the top venues in the region.

The Nelum Pokuna Mahinda Raajapaksa Theatre, also known as the Lotus Pond, recently hosted its biggest foreign production, The Sound of Music, and with that it hopes the venue will be recognized overseas as one of the top venues in the region.

Opened in 2011, the performing arts centre was designed by a Chinese team and constructed with Chinese funding.

The Nelum Pokuna Mahinda Raajapaksa Theatre is managed and maintained by the security forces while Chinese technical assistance is obtained to ensure the venue continues to meet international standards.

Brigadier Sudantha Thilakarathne

Brigadier Sudantha Thilakarathne, Chief Executive officer of the Nelum Pokuna Mahinda Rajapaksa Theatre said that a two year agreement with China for technical assistance for the theatre lapsed last year and a fresh agreement will be signed soon.

“Under the previous agreement our staff were trained on aspects related to operating and maintaining the venue. We hope to have a fresh agreement signed for more assistance,” he said.

Thilakarathne said that while Nelum Pokuna is looking to compete among similar venues in the region, it will also soon gain international recognition.

With 1269 seating capacity in the main theatre, Nelum Pokuna has already hosted some international events, including an international summit and musical shows.

In February, Nelum Pokuna will hosted the Broadway production, The Sound of Music, for which equipment was shipped to Sri Lanka to ensure the show is on par with its international reputation.

Cinnamon Life Sri Lanka together with David Ian Productions Ltd, Company Onstage Ltd and the Broadway Asia Company LLC stageg The Sound of Music in Sri Lanka from 14-18 February, 2018 to a sold out audience.

Thilakarathne said that Nelum Pokuna was chosen to stage the production as it is the only venue in Sri Lanka which has the facilities for such a major production.

He said that his 120 member staff worked round the clock to ensure Nelum Pokuna was ready for the major production and they are confident the end result will see Sri Lanka being included in the diary for such major productions in future as well.