THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: After a wait of four years, the cultural heavyweights and artists in the city can now heave a sigh of relief as one of the cultural landmarks in the city, Tagore Theatre, will be opened to the public on Wednesday after renovation. The renovation, that began in 2011 after closing down the theatre, was stalled several times and mired in controversies owing to funds crunch and sub-contracting issues.
The first phase of the renovation was completed under the aegis of state government by making the Kerala Transport Development Finance Corporation (KTDFC) the nodal agency. The renovation of the complex was completed at a total cost of Rs 23.04 crore.
The first phase of the renovation includes introducing three new screens with 2K projection, 4,000 square feet stage and centrally-airconditioned auditorium with acoustic facility. Other attractions are the state-of the-art high definition sound system and wider seats. However, the seating capacity has come down to 925, though the project had earlier proposed a 1,200-seat facility.
The second phase of the renovation will include landscaping, gardening, cafeteria, painting gallery of Tagore, outdoor beautification and a mini theatre, which bring a complete makeover to the five-acre campus.
A three-floor performing art block and multi-level parking facility are also proposed in the second phase.
According to a KTDFC official, the major attraction of the renovated theatre would be the big stage, one of the biggest in south India. The stage has an area of 380 metre square so that artists can perform without any hiccups and complaints. Besides, three to four entry points have been arranged in the lobby around the auditorium. Modern green rooms and rest rooms are the other highlights, a top official who preferred anonymity said.
The official also expressed the hope that the works of the second phase would commence soon.
After four failed bids, the KTDFC had succeeded in awarding the contract for installing the air-conditioning system to Hitachi and sound systems to Genesis. Cost Factor
Though the initial budget for reconstruction was Rs 41.05 crore, proposed to be allotted by the Centre, shortage of funds created inordinate delay in the works. Earlier, the fund allocation for the renovation was in a 60:40 ratio of Central and state governments respectively.
The total amount of Rs 24.60 crore had also been fixed as financial aid from the Centre.
Chief Minister Oommen Chandy will inaugurate the function on Wednesday at 5 pm. Minister K C Joseph will preside over. Health Minister V S Sivakumar, Mayor K Chandrika and Shashi Tharoor MP will be the chief guests. It will be followed by the screening of a documentary on Gurudev, Rabindra Sangeeth by Abradita Banerjee and group and folk songs.