Govt calls for bids for BCC amphitheatre rehabilitation
The government, through the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Wildlife, has shown its seriousness in putting the amphitheatre at Blantyre Cultural Centre (BCC) back to its shape by calling for sealed bids.
Rehabilitation of works at the once mighty entertainment mecca have been moving at a snail’s pace, with the creative industry expressing concern over the issue.
In a tender notice in Wednesday’s The Daily Times, Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Wildlife says it has set aside funds in the financial year 2021/22 for the rehabilitation of the amphitheatre.
The amphitheatre, which has in the past years hosted top events and artists, is in a pathetic state and has not hosted any event.
Despite still being under rehabilitation, the centre continues to host some shows but many take place in the auditorium, which has proved to be smaller for other events.
A few months ago, Kwathu Drama Group’s performance turned out to be too small in the auditorium and their attempt to hold it at the amphitheatre failed due to its poor state.
The call for sealed bids also comes barely a month after Minister of Tourism, Culture and Wildlife Michael Usi made a surprise to the venue visit where he expressed disappointment with the slow progress of rehabilitation.
“The amphitheatre is very important, especially for performances. I for one want to hold my own show here. This venue is unique and has hosted a lot of events,” Usi said then.
The minister also said last weekend, during the official opening of Sand Music Festival, that the government was committed to propelling the creative industry in the country.
“We are looking at the Arts Council to be established soon; we are also looking at rehabilitating BCC so that artists can start using it and a number of other programmes and uplifting arts is part of the vision 2063,” Usi said.
The tender notice says the chairperson, Internal Procurement and Disposal Committee in the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Wildlife, is inviting bids for rehabilitation of Open Theatre at BCC from eligible bidders, who are currently registered in the K500 million and above category for Building with National Construction Industry Council of Malawi.
Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Wildlife says it shall conduct a pre-bid visit and meeting at BCC on October 22.
The government bought BCC from France at K300 million before it was ransacked in 2011.