By Lobsang Wangyal
McLEOD GANJ, India, 1 November 2019
The premier Tibetan centre for traditional dance and music, the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts (TIPA), celebrated its 60th anniversary on Tuesday with the inauguration of its new auditorium by the Dalai Lama.
More than 100 ex-TIPA members were in attendance for the three-day celebration, which included a conference on Tibetan Performing Arts and cultural performances.
But the auditorium has disappointed the audience members and the TIPA artistes that Tibet Sun interviewed. This, the central showpiece of TIPA, built at a cost close to seven crore rupees (985,000 USD approx), on the inside just looks like a standard Indian movie theatre.
Most of the audience are not able to see the stage, as there is barely any slanting in the seat arrangement, such that the front seater blocks the one sitting behind. Audience in the back seats in the balcony literally don’t see anything unless they stand.
The spacing between rows is so small that one’s knees touch the back of the seat in front, leaving no room for people to pass to go to or out of their seats. Also most people unless very tall find their feet dangling or barely touching the floor while seated.
There is no light showing the way to the exit, so people are groping to get in or out.
“The architect and the authorities should sit in the audience seats to see how they feel,” said a TIPA member who did not want to be named.
“Now who will take the responsibility for this huge damage?” he added.
Tibet Sun has learned that an amphitheatre-style design commissioned by the Karmapa, who had promised to fund the project, had been shelved by the Kashag in favour of this hurriedly-and-poorly-built auditorium.
Suggestions by senior artistes to build an amphitheatre style auditorium were also ignored by the authorities.
To top it off, the public lavatories below the dining hall reek with toilet smell.