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News 07 Feb 13

Finishing Touches Added to Macedonia's New Theatre

Painters are finishing the interior of the luxurious new Macedonian National Theatre, designed to resemble the old building that vanished in the 1963 quake, and which is set to open in March.

Sinisa Jakov Marusic
BIRN
Skopje

Photo by: Dexter26

The Macedonian authorities hope they will make it in time to open the building on March 27, which is World Theatre Day.

“The small stage has been completed. Painters are already working on the ceiling in the large hall and on the entrance,” Culture Minister Elizabeta Kanceska-Milevska said.

The ministry recently informed it had paid an additional 260,000 euro to several painters for work on the large paintings on the ceilings and walls.

“Apart from being a theatre, the building will also… depict the cultural heritage of the country,” Minister Milevska recently said.

By agreeing additional contracts with firms and individuals since the start of construction in 2007, the ministry managed to more than triple the original price tag, from 6 million to 20 million euro.

Before the fees for the painters were revealed, in January the ministry made additional contracts totalling another 1.5 million euro.

The money went on electrical installation, a new sculpture to be placed inside the building and on “additional and unforeseen works” that are not described in detail.

The new building is designed in many ways to resemble the one that crumbled away in the devastating earthquake of 1963.

The large auditorium will have some 750 seats and the small one around 250, which is more than the original building held.

The theatre is apparently going to be luxuriously decorated, with gilded ornaments inside and outside and 47 statues on the roof.

It forms part of a wider government-sponsored plan known as Skopje 2014 that aims to give the neglected-looking Macedonian capital a more monumental appearance by drawing inspiration from the architectural styles of Classical Antiquity.

The plan envisages the construction of many buildings, including, museums, theatres, concert halls, hotels and administrative offices, as well as a number of large bronze and marble statues.

The plan has proven controversial, with critics objecting to its high price tag, estimated by some to be at least 500 million euro, as well as to the selection of artistic styles.

Photo by: Dexter26
Visualization of the interior
Visualization of the interior
Visualization of the interior
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