By Bejay Browne
THE ROOF of a theatre in Paphos is in imminent danger of collapse, the head of the local civil engineers and architects association has warned.
Chrysostomos Italos told the Cyprus Mail the Markideion theatre in Paphos is in need of urgent repairs to ensure the safety of the building.
“Last month, along with a number of engineers, we visited the theatre and carried out an inspection. We found that a lack of maintenance has created a number of significant and serious problems which must be rectified immediately to make it safe for use,” he said.
Italos said following his visit to the theatre in December he wrote a letter to the mayor of Paphos, Savvas Vergas, to outline the problems and the association’s recommendations.
According to Italos, the roof’s support trusses, as well as the roof itself are showing signs of severe corrosion (rusting). The trusses are also bending and are oxidised.
“This is a very dangerous situation and the roof could collapse at any time,” he said. “We have asked for the necessary works to be carried out immediately and under close supervision.”
In addition, he said that plaster is missing in numerous places, both from the interior and exterior surfaces of the masonry.
The Markideion theatre is the town’s only such venue and according to Italos was built around twenty years ago.
“It is only a matter of time until the roof collapses. The roof skeleton also needs to be changed and the roof replaced and fitted with insulated panels, as there currently aren’t any.”
In 2013, Paphos won an international competition, a title shared with Aarhus in Denmark, to become the European Capital of Culture for 2017. Officials and residents in Paphos have long been fighting for the creation of a new theatre to serve the community but have so far been unsuccessful in their attempts. A number of alternative sites have been rejected or hit brick walls.
A raft of other complaints regarding the theatre’s lack of suitable facilities, including insufficient numbers of toilets and changing rooms have been lodged by performers and musicians in the last few years, including the state orchestra.
The president of the civil engineers and architects added that the repairs will cost in excess of €200,000 and that a brand new facility is urgently required.
“These repairs must be carried out immediately but there is also a need for a new theatre for Paphos, especially in the light of Paphos being the cultural capital in 2017.This facility is the only closed space which is available for cultural events and shows at present.”
He concluded, “we (the association) are willing to contribute to the efforts for all of the necessary steps for improvement and upgrading of the infrastructure of our city.”
A spokesman for Paphos municipality, which operates the theatre said: “The letter from Mr Italos regarding the roof of the theatre will be examined; there is a process which needs to be followed. As I understand it, no performances due to take place at the theatre have been cancelled and they will go ahead as scheduled.”