Open Air Theatre upgrade awaits CM’s nod – Newspaper

LAHORE: The summary for upgrade of the Lawrence Garden’s Open Air Theatre, an 81-year-old structure, having a great historical and cultural significance, with a budget of Rs300m is lying with Chief Minister Usman Buzdar for the final approval, the officials told Dawn.

The Open Air Theater, constructed in 1940 on the Greek theatre pattern, has been a centre of cultural activities since its inception. With the efforts of DG Sondhi, the then principal of Government College, Lahore, the theatre was constructed to stage plays and hold other cultural activities.

This theatre falls under the preview of the Punjab Council of Arts. In an effort to turn this historically significant venue into a place of art and recreation of international standards, the Punjab government would upgrade it with addition of new features. There would be a fully equipped recording studio for the emerging singers from all over Punjab, an auditorium, an art gallery, a café and an extended car parking. The studio would serve emerging singers and instrumentalists and the talent, which would be tapped through divisional arts councils would be asked to record their tracks at the studio.

Punjab Council of Arts Director Headquarters Abrar Alam told Dawn that to tailor out the whole project in an effective and conducive manner the CM formed a committee to look into the details and requirements of the project.

The committee is headed by Walled City of Lahore Authority Director General Kamran Lashari. The other members of the committee are from different government departments such as Parks and Horticulture Authority, Environment Dept, Architecture, Punjab Council of the Arts, Communication and Works and Planning and Development Department.

Mr Alam said the Punjab Council of Arts has an exclusive venue in the form of Open Air Theatre to hold cultural activities. The venue, once developed, would be a state-of-the-art venue, the work on the project would start during the current year, he added.

Mr Alam said the café at Open Air Theatre would also be of high standard and quality along with an impressive art gallery and symposium hall.

To this question that after the upgrade of Open Air Theatre would the council again allow commercial theatre to do shows there, Mr Alam said that commercial theatre was not taking place at Open Air Theatre since 2017 and in future too, the council would not permit any commercial theatre activities. Only parallel theater would take place, which would be done by students of college and universities and theatre groups from the parallel theatre, he said and added, “We want to stage plays for the families”.

Published in Dawn, January 25th, 2021

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