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Restoring the Legacy

Two decades of effort, and the Gaiety Theatre – or the Gaiety Theatre Complex as it should now be called –has been painstaking restored and sensitively rebuilt. In recent times, this may well rank as one the most extensive projects of its kind to be undertaken in the country. Wherever fresh construction has been done, this has been done in keeping with the essential character of the building largely using traditional materials like slaked lime and dressed stone; the cardinal principle of all such work has been strictly followed and every fresh change is reversible. Minute attention has been given to detail. The paint has been peeled away, layer by layer to find the original shade that covered the walls and columns – and this is what has been done. Similarly, the papier mache was removed, panel by panel and given a new lease of life.

The restoration of the Gaiety Complex has been undertaken under the aegis of the Government of Himachal Pradesh’s Department of Language, Art and Culture and the work executed by the Department of Public Works; the project has been funded by the Government of India’s Department of Culture and Tourism. Noted conservation and theatre architect, Ved Segan has planned and superintended the project. Specialists have handled delicate aspects – for example, the restoration of the papier mache panels has been done by Sanjay Dhar and the stage with all its Victorian facets has been done by Vimal Joshi.

The Government of Himachal Pradesh has restored the 122 years old Historical Land mark Victorian Gothic Architecture specimen of Gaiety Theatre Complex conceived by Legendry British Architect Henry Irwin symbolizing the grandeur of the British colonial period heritage. After the inception in the year 1887, eminent Theatre Personalities like Rudyard Kipling, Baden Powel, K.L. Sehgal, PrithviRaj Kapoor, Balraj Sahni and Manohar Singh have displayed their histrionics on the stage of this theatre.

To ensure the longevity of this Prestigious Complex from dilapidated and deteriorated condition, the restoration of this Complex was started in the year 2003 under the guidance and supervision of Renowned Conservation Architect Sh.Ved Segan who with his specialized expertise in theatres have earlier restored Prithvi Theatre in Bombay. The Restoration Process comprising Traditional Conservation Methods and Latest Modern Conservation Techniques like Carbon Fiber  and Glass Fiber Treatment with core objective to restore the building to its pristine glory of the British Era without any change to the façade and internal environs of the building and simultaneously creating a Compact Cultural Complex catering to multi Theatrical and Cultural activities and Art events with all necessary required infrastructure took almost 6 years with expenditure incurred more than 11.5 Crore.

The ideal and serene location of the Complex with enormous tourism potential provide a unique opportunity to showcase the Vibrant, Colorful Culture including Theatre, Folk Theatre, Cultural Heritage and other traditions of our state in a big way



© 2009 The GaietyCultural Complex is a division of the Himachal Pradesh Department of Art & Culture. 
Mailing Address:mail@gaiety.in Department of Art & Culture, Kusumpti Shimla-171009