Lionel Wendt Theatre and Art Centre

Opened in 1953, the Lionel Wendt Theatre and Art Centre, located in Colombo 7, is a beacon for many a drama and art enthusiast, to witness and conduct some of the finest exhibitions and performances in the field of art and culture. With a great many art exhibitions of various genres, stage dramas, ballets and even orchestral performances hosted at the famed complex, the theatre and art exhibition centre still proves to be one of the premier hubs, that aim to showcase the best in the field of fine arts in the country, making it all the more enticing for the art lover to delve into.

Best Known For

  • The art center in Colombo has long been famed for being an epicentre of the fine arts in Sri Lanka. Boasting of hosting an array of stage productions and art exhibitions that personifies the trilingual culture of the country. The Lionel Wendt Theatre and Art Centre is famed for being a haven for the art lover and the individual looking to understand the unique culture of the country.

Interesting Facts

  • The theatre and art exhibition centre is the humble home of art lover, Lionel Wendt.
  • Educated in Cambridge and in Ceylon (now called Sri Lanka), he was a barrister who was quite adept in his work, however, this was not his sole passion.
  • His passion being music and photography, Lionel Wendt, along with his brother Harry and mutual friend Harold Peiris, decided to dedicate and transform his home into an art centre, where budding artists can portray their masterpieces to the public.
  • However, the 3 man project suffered a major setback, as Lionel passed away in 1944 and his brother passed away the following year.
  • Although suffering such a setback, their friend Harold Peiris decided to continue the project in honour of his friends, which resulted in dedicating much of his time and money for the completion of this project.
  • It was in 1953 that the theatre and art centre was finally opened to the public, along with an art gallery named, the Lionel Wendt Art Gallery to honour the famed art enthusiast.
  • Due to the tireless efforts of Harold Peiris, the 43’ Group, a fellowship of distinguished Sri Lankan artists, decided to name another gallery on the premises in honour of him.
  • Ever since the centre’s inception in 1953, the Lionel Wendt Art Gallery, the Harold Peiris Art Gallery and the very theatre itself has hosted a number of productions and exhibitions that have gained critical acclaim from lovers of the fine arts, the world over.
  • One of the more memorable productions being its inaugural one in 1953, Maxim Gorky’s ‘The Lower Depths’, directed by Neumann Jubal, along with a cast of Sri Lanka’s most accomplished amateur actors.
  • Up until today, the art galleries have always been occupied with a great many pieces of art coming from all over the country from budding artists.
  • Moreover, the theatre still serves to be the premier venue for the more popular Sinhala, English and Tamil productions and musical performances, including ballets and even stage dramas adapted from William Shakespeare, making it all the more reason to witness one.

Times, Seasons and Tips

  • The Lionel Wendt Theatre and Art Centre is open from 9.00am to 7.00pm on weekdays, whereas on weekends it is open from 9.00am to 12.00pm and again from 2.00pm to 7.00pm.
  • If you are looking to attend one of the marvelous stage dramas, then it is best to look up their website first to see what is in store or inquire through a simple phone call, since the theatre hosts multiple genres of stage performances and musical evenings that occur at varying times of the year.
  • The art centre, on the other hand, hosts a great many art exhibitions throughout the year and is almost always open for public viewing. It is still, however, recommended to inquire through phone or look up their website, since they host a myriad of exhibitions that cut across many genres as well.

Should you be the lover of the fine arts and yearn to understand Sri Lanka’s artistic merit, then the Lionel Wendt Theatre and Art Centre is one place you should not overlook, as its central location and history make it an ideal location, to witness the best of art and culture in Sri Lanka.

Title image by: KNOWSL The information displayed is provided by Lionel Wendt Theatre and Art Centre
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