It has been 15 long months since the Dome theatre in Accra, the biggest indoor theatre in the country, which is the first port of call for many big event organisers, was “temporarily shut down for renovation”.
At the time of the closure, most event organisers expected that the 2600 seater movable theatre run by Creator Digital Company, would open early enough for the Christmas season when many big events in the capital are usually held but that was not to be.
Christmas 2013 has come and gone, Easter too has passed and without word from the owners about how much longer the supposed renovation would take, event organisres may be losing hope on its opening soon particularly after questions were raised earlier this year in the media about its safety and it being an illegal structure.
But in an interview with the Project Manager for the Dome, Kevin Aggrey, he denied that the Dome had been permanently shut down.
He told Showbiz on Tuesday that the Dome was undergoing rehabilitation works to make it a better place to host events.
“I don’t know where all these speculations are from but there is enough evidence to show that we have not closed down the place permanently. When you get there right now, there are ongoing major works on the facility.
“Just some few weeks ago, the whole building was washed and we are working on improving the seating design, the acoustics, security and air conditining system”, he said.
The Dome is a temporary structure that was erected for an UNCTAD conference in 2008. It was meant to be dismantled after the conference but some private individuals showed interest in its management and had since hosted many events including the annual Ghana Music Awards.
Its closure since last year has been a great discomfort to many event organisers and still no one is talking about a re-opening date.
Mr Aggrey said “I don’t have the official power to talk about when it will re- opened. I have to consult with my managers because it is a collective and management decision. For now, I can only assure the public that the maintenance work is for their own good and we don’t intend to do anything that will hinder the progress of entertainment industry” he said.
In an interview with George Quaye, Head of Communications at Charter House, he expressed his delight at the possible reopening of the Dome. “It’s good to know that the Dome will be opened to event organisers. The impact of its closure on event organisers has been huge and if they have any plans of re-opening the Dome, then it should be soon.
“For me, I find it heartbreaking that a country like Ghana cannot boast of an auditorium that can take about 5,000 people. I don’t know if it’s the arts and entertainment industry that is not positioned well. Ask people in the industry and they will tell you that event venue business is a very profitable business.
He noted that the Dome was the preferred choice for most event organisers because of the numbers it could take to enable event organisers to recoup the cost of a show’s production.
“If you don’t have a venue that can take in numbers of people, you would end up with a huge loss. The nature of the economy doesn’t even permit organisers to increase prices of tickets even though production items have gone up.” he said.
He said that it was very unfortunate that the Dome had been closed down for so long and appealed to the government to intervene.
Last Friday when Showbiz contacted the Director of the Accra International Conference Centre on whose premises the Dome is “perching” she declined to comment on the issue.
She rather requested that an official letter be written to the Minister of Foreign Affairs for the appropriate response. “I can’t talk about it unless I am given a directive by the Minister”, she said.
A visit to the Dome however didn’t show any sign of rehabilitation as Mr. Aggrey earlier claimed. The place looked deserted and the doors were locked except the main exit door.