About six months after the announcement of the construction of five amphitheatres in Ghana, a sod-cutting ceremony has been held for the first project.
The exercise was undertaken by the Deputy Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mark Okraku-Mantey in Kumasi on Wednesday, April 26, 2023.
In his address before cutting the sod, Mark said: “Good to see you all here. This is the day the Most High has made. Finally, we are on the soil or on the grounds to start the project. So it will be prudent that we do the official thing that we do. We are here to do the first digging so that we can put on record that the project has started.”
Also at the sod-cutting ceremony were the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana Tourism Development Company (GTDC), Kwadwo Antwi and the Mayor of Kumasi Sam Pyne.
What is an amphitheatre?
An amphitheatre is an open-air venue used for entertainment, performances, and sports.
Ancient Roman amphitheatres were oval or circular in plan, with seating tiers that surrounded the central performance area, like a modern open-air stadium. In contrast, both ancient Greek and ancient Roman theatres were built in a semicircle, with tiered seating rising on one side of the performance area.
In modern times, an “amphitheatre” is used for any structure with sloping seating, including theatre-style stages with spectator seating on only one side, theatres in the round, and stadia. They can be indoor or outdoor.
On Wednesday, October 19, 2022, the Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Dr Mohammed Awal, announced at a press briefing that the government would be building five multipurpose domes or amphitheatres in 2022.
“We are going to build 5 amphitheatres, and domes. One area that we lack in this industry is that we don’t have multipurpose venues for activities. We’re going to 5 this year. In fact, the process has already begun to procure supplies,” he announced.
“This year, we do 5 amphitheatres, then we do another 5 next year. So by 2024, we would have all 16 regions to give our artistes venues to perform,” he added.
The minister indicated that this would help create jobs and opportunities for Ghanaians.
The issue of theatres or performance centres has been of prime concern to creatives in the country, as they keep holding governments accountable on promises to provide such facilities.
Prior to the 2016 elections, the ruling New Patriotic Party promised to build 9 ultra-modern theatres across the former 10 regions in the country.
Later, after the auditorium at the Centre for National Culture in Koforidua got renovated, former Deputy Minister of Tourism, Dr Ziblim Iddi said, the renovation of the performance auditorium was what they meant by saying they were going to build theatres across the region.
He explained that they were rather going to renovate the regional cultural centres for that purpose.
In the meantime, there have also been calls for the government to renovate the National Theatre into an ultra-modern status.
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