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Nelum Pokuna

A ‘Lotus Pond’ in the Heart of the City

The Nelum Pokuna Mahinda Rajapaksa Theatre (known simply as the Nelum Pokuna to most locals), is a major performing arts centre in Colombo. The word Nelum Pokuna means “Lotus Pond”, and the architecture of the building takes direct inspiration from the similarly-named 12th-century lotus pond in Sri Lankan’s ancient city of Polonnaruwa. The building was conceived so that Sri Lanka’s long history of performance and theatre could thrive and performers could have a central location to showcase their talents. It was designed by the Beijing Institute of Architectural Design, and constructed in Sri Lanka under the guidance of professional local architects.

The Country’s Largest Performance Theatre

The Nelum Pokuna was opened in 2011, and has a floor area of approximately 14,000 square meters. There are two main theatres within the structure: an auditorium that is equipped to seat over 1200 people, and an open-air theatre. The front steps to the Nelum Pokuna can also be converted to an open-air theatre on demand. In addition, the building features a library, and modern facilities that allow for the pursuit of educational and research activities.

The Nelum Pokuna is situated in the heart of Colombo, with easy access to the city’s amenities. This has made it a very attractive location for local and foreign producers and visitors, with the theatre being surrounded by five-star hotels, shopping districts and local attractions.