The People’s Municipal Theatre in Sebha has reopened after the International Organization for Migration (IOM) completed a restoration project, through the Learning for Life initiative financed by Japan.
The largest hall in the city was once the scene of movie festivals, local settlements, and community events, with a capacity for more than 600 people. The building was damaged beyond use after years of conflict in Libya.
A public event for members of the Sebha Municipality, theatre staff, tribal officials, and local and immigrant community members was organised to celebrate the opening with music, traditional dance, and poetry.
Federico Soda, IOM Libya Chief of Mission said, “It is important for communities in the south to have a chance to rebuild. The expense of the continued conflict in terms of loss of life, damage to livelihoods and infrastructure is immense.”
“Through this initiative, young people will have the skills to identify ways to benefit their community, while the city recovers a much-loved community space,” he added.
“The new chapter of Sebha’s Municipal Theatre starts now, with the people,” said Masaki Amadera, Japanese Chargé d’Affaires to Libya. “The Government and the people of Japan sincerely hope that this theatre contributes to improving the social and cultural life of people in Sebha and the Fezzan. I am looking forward to visiting Sebha and enjoying an event together with the people at the theatre in the near future,” Amadera stated.
“The theatre was a place used by everyone, including displaced populations and migrants during many events such as the Migration Film Festival,” said Omar Saleh, Director of the theatre.“This place has also been used to solve tribal and community issues in the past. It’s a very valuable space in our city.”
As part of the rehabilitation process, the theatre walls were replaced and new drainage, lighting fixtures, tiles, and air conditioning units installed. Broken doors and windows were replaced, the interior walls were painted, and a protective and decorative iron façade has been installed on the exterior of the building. IOM also equipped the theatre with a generator and furniture – chairs, desks, sofa, shelves, water dispensers, and coffee machines.