THE AMPHITHEATRE at the Papua New Guinea National Museum and Art Gallery has been renovated and re-badged as the Nora Vagi-Brash Amphitheatre.

Following the first renovation to take place on the amphitheatre since the museum opened in 1977, museum management now hope for the complex to host theatre performances, poetry and other artistic activities at night.

“It will create a hub for culture and art interactions between the different art communities in Port Moresby and around the country,” the museum said in an announcement.

Located next to Parliament House and opposite Constitutional Park, the Nora Vagi-Brash Amphitheatre was painted and decorated with home-made tile art works designed to an “earth” theme.

It is painted in bright reddish-brown and yellow colours with pre-historic and primitive Papua New Guinea paintings and designs drawn on the entrance walls to the sitting venues.

Speaking at the opening, minister for Tourism Arts and Culture Boka Kondra urged artists to use the amphitheatre to bolster PNG’s contemporary cultural heritage.

The artworks were created by local company Ples Arts working under the direction of Nicolas Garnier, the Acting Dean of Research and Post Graduate Studies Centre at the University of Papua New Guinea.

Dr Garnier said he wanted the design to reflect the Museum’s exhibitions and art collections.

The amphitheatre has been named after one of Papua New Guinea’s leading female playwrights and poets, with Ms Vagi-Brash telling EM TV that she hoped to work with a young team to stage a play at the newly renovated theatre.

Ms Vagi-Brash has written 14 plays during her long career, winning the Independence Medal in 1985 for her play Taurama.

Formerly one of two artistic directors at the PNG National Theatre Company, she was also a deputy chairperson of the Then-PNG Cultural Council and is a former board member of the institute of PNG Studies.

Mr Kondra said her work had been “groundbreaking and timeless” and “had mirrored the growing pains of a newly independent Papua New Guinea”.

She is also a poet and teacher.