Cyprus Mail

Nicosia to get its theatre back

In June 2008 the roof of the Municipal Theatre collapsed and it has been abandoned ever since

By Constantinos Psillides

RENOVATING the Nicosia Municipal Theatre and turning into a cultural centre will cost the tax payer €7.5m, according to Education minister Costas Kadis, who said yesterday that for it to fall into disarray has been a shame.

“This building is a symbol for the capital, a reference point for cultural events and its current state is shaming us all,” noted Kadis. He said that the ministry will allocate €5m from its budget towards refurbishing the theatre, in exchange for free use for 100 days a year.

The municipal theatre has been abandoned since June 2008, when its roof collapsed overnight, a day before hundreds of school children were expected to stage an end-of-year performance there.

Despite the fact that the capital already has a venue suitable for cultural events – the Cyprus Theatre Organisation (THOC) building opposite the Finance ministry – mayor Constantinos Yiorkadjis feels that a second cultural centre is needed.

“Refurbishing the theatre has been a demand by a large number of Nicosians,” a spokesman from his office told the Cyprus Mail yesterday.

DISY members of the municipal council issued a statement congratulating mayor Yiorkadjis and the government on their decision to refurbish the municipal theatre.

The municipality is currently entangled in a legal battle over the roof collapse, having filed a suit against all those responsible in 2010.

According to the findings of a probe in February 2009, the roof collapsed because the support beams were burdened with excessive weight, following a €5.6m refurbishing programme two-and-a-half years before.

The municipality sued the contractor, architect and engineers to pay for the refurbishing cost. A report commissioned by the municipality in 2010 estimated that around €4m would be needed to restore the theatre.

A municipality source told the Cyprus Mail that the trial is moving at snail’s pace. The previous court hearing was planned for June 26 but was adjourned for January 30, 2015.

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