National Theater to be restored

Uno de los frescos de Roberto Lewis.

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The National Theater, which was designed by Italian architect Genaro Ruggieri, with a style of Italian operetta theater and inaugurated in 1908, is being restored after years of neglect. The engineering works started on June 28 and the company in charge of the project is APROCOSA

(Administradora de Proyectos de Construcción S.A.)

The Panamanian painter Roberto Lewis painted a magnificent plafond fresco in the National Theater. He also painted much of the artwork in the Presidential Palace, including the murals in the Yellow Room that depict the discovery of the Panamanian Isthmus and the Pacific Ocean and Panama’s independence.

One of Roberto Lewis frescoes.

One of Roberto Lewis frescoes.

The theater has been neglected for the last few years and not until 2016 that studies were commissioned and part of the structure made safe, to start refurbishment works.

APROCOSA will reinforce the structure of vulnerable areas, as recommended by a study made by the Technological University of Panama, especially the terrace and foyer slabs, as well as the main slab on top of the stage. Other works include the modernization of the air conditioning system. The project is scheduled to finish on December 2018 and will cost $15 million.

“Among the improvements to be done is to bring up to date the stage equipment, which include the closing of the pit of the orchestra allowing the stage to be extended, change all the curtains, improve the positioning of seats in stalls and boxes to improve spectators view, as well as the modernization of audio and video among others. Parking places, next to the theater will be eliminated to recuperate the lateral gardens,” explained Janelle Davidson, the National Institute of Culture’s director general.

Another part of the refurbishment works is the restoration and esthetic conservation of the artistic paintings, architectonic and decorative elements of the National Theater, especifically the stall, panel, boxes, proscenium, foyer, stairs and lobby areas. The conservation and art Angela Camargo will be in charge of the 24 months works. The theater will be opened to the public in January 2019.

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