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.