Mahaweli Centre to build mini-open theatre, mini art gallery | Sunday Observer

Mahaweli Centre to build mini-open theatre, mini art gallery

20 November, 2022
3-D rendering of the proposed mini open-air theatre at the Mahaweli Centre
3-D rendering of the proposed mini open-air theatre at the Mahaweli Centre

Projects are under-way by the Mahaweli Centre to nurture and promote entrepreneurship and mass communication skills, such as radio presenting and broadcast media technical skills and the practice of arts among the youth in the Mahaweli Zones, said Mahaweli Centre’s Director Dennis Fernando.

The Director of the Mahaweli Centre, Dennis Fernando.

Sports, Youth Affairs and Irrigation Minister Roshan Ranasinghe

The Mahaweli Authority’s Mahaweli Centre, the catalyst for providing social and technological innovation and enterprise leadership, is also working on two project proposals to construct a mini open-air theatre and a mini art gallery in the premises of the Mahaweli Centre in Colombo. “The design phases of the two constructions have been completed,” said Director Fernando, “The cost of both constructions is Rs 4 million as per current estimates.”

“We have received financial support from donors to commence the construction work. We rely on individual grants to build the open-air theatre,” he said.

Once built, the proposed open-air theater will be rented out by the Mahaweli Centre to raise money for the ministry.

The theatre will offer discounted admission to local artistes.

Aside from other uses, the miniature art gallery will be rented out for art exhibitions, said Director Fernando.

The goal of these initiatives is to make the Mahaweli Authority and all other institutions, which fall under the purview of the Ministry of Irrigation, self-sufficient and financially sustainable state institutions in congruence with the policy priorities of the government and the vision of Sports, Youth Affairs and Irrigation Minister Roshan Ranasinghe, said Fernando.

The Mahaweli Centre recently conducted radio broadcasting skills workshops for young men and women in the Mahaweli region. The Centre organised these workshops to revive the Mahaweli Community Radio, which in the past had received an overwhelming response of listenership and active listener participation.

The programs of Mahaweli Community Radio (CMC) revolved primarily around the needs of the farming communities. It broadcast programs with relevance to village reality. The programs motivated the villagers to participate in the region’s development. The CMC was created from Denmark’s public access radio model “Bandvaerkstedet” after modification of its Danish approach to suit Sri Lanka’s rural community.

Fernando said they were taking steps to revive Mahaweli Community Radio as a digital radio service called “Mahaweli Web Radio,” a radio providing the listeners a continuous stream of audio via the internet. The young men and women from the Mahaweli Zones will run this digital radio station. The talented youth in the Mahaweli zones will be selected to run this digital radio station. “We have already started training workshops for a batch of youth chosen for this purpose from the Mahaweli rural community,” he said.

The overall aim of this digital radio station is to promote entrepreneurship of the youth in the Mahaweli zones, their artistic skills, handicrafts, and popularising their products, preparing their goods for export, among other things, to strengthen the growth of the rural economy and the up-scaling the living standards of the rural communities.

“The Mahaweli Centre is working on initiatives to support and encourage young people in the Mahaweli Zones to pursue their passions for the arts, entrepreneurship, and mass communication skills, “he added.

Minister Roshan Ranasinghe recently directed the Mahaweli Authority to upgrade and run the Mahaweli Holiday Bungalows to increase their revenue potential. The Authority is taking steps to ensure they become principal income-generating establishments, said Fernando.

The Mahaweli Centre has taken steps to redevelop its National Irrigation Museum, which displays artifacts related to the ancient hydraulic civilisation of Sri Lanka and its irrigation heritage.