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Hi-tech amphitheatre 'a beacon of culture'

MANAMA: A state-of-the-art amphitheatre serving as a beacon of culture is to be built in Bahrain. His Majesty King Hamad yesterday officially launched the landmark Bahrain National Amphitheatre project in the presence of His Royal Highness Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa.

The Culture and Information Ministry organised the event at Bahrain National Museum.

His Majesty was welcomed by Culture and Information Minister Shaikha Mai bint Mohammed Al Khalifa and Under-Secretary Dr Isa Amin. Present were Shura Council chairman Ali Saleh Al Saleh, ministers, ambassadors, senior officials and guests.

His Majesty pressed a button signalling the launch of the project. He watched a documentary film and was briefed on the project. Three plays were also staged marking His Majesty's visit to the museum to give the go-ahead for the project. The King said the iconic scheme was a landmark monument on the path of cultural modernisation and development in Bahrain.

"We lay the foundation stone for the amphitheatre to be a key pillar of cultural momentum," he said, describing the project as a gift to people who deserve landmark achievements meeting their aspirations.

Designed according to world architectural standards, the amphitheatre will cover 86,911sqm, north of the museum lake, and comprises a state-of-the-art main auditorium capable of accommodating 1,000 people.

The project is expected to be complete in 2012 to mark Manama as Arab Culture Capital. The opening will also be held as Bahrain celebrates two other global events. In 2011, the kingdom will host the World Heritage Committee, an offshoot of the Paris-based Unesco. It will also be declared Capital of Arab Tourism for 2013.

His Majesty later toured an art exhibition by Shaikh Rashid bin Khalifa Al Khalifa being held at the museum and hailed Bahrain's cultural dynamism and intellectual creativity.



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