Taiwan President opens world’s largest single-roof performing arts center in Kaohsiung

Weiwuying stands on the site of a former military camp

  5303
Weiwuying (image courtesy of The National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts).

Weiwuying (image courtesy of The National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts).

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) - President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on Saturday inaugurated the National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts, also known as Weiwuying (衛武營) after the military base that used to stand in the same location, describing the act as the ending of “spatial Martial Law.”

The sleek wave-shaped 3.3-hectare building, designed by Francine Houben of the Netherlands, is the world’s largest single-roof performing arts center, the Central News Agency reported.

As Weiwuying is the first national theater to be located in Southern Taiwan, its opening also symbolized the advent of equal cultural rights, Tsai said, who praised activists for demanding 20 years ago that the military space be turned into a cultural center.

The complex actually also includes a 2,236-seat Opera House, a 1,981-seat Concert Hall, a 1,210-seat Playhouse, a 434-seat Recital Hall, and an outdoor theater. Weiwuying’s artistic director is conductor Chien Wen-pin (簡文彬).

The center was 15 years in the making, spanning the administrations of three presidents, Tsai pointed out. The building only occupies one third of a 9.9-hectare culture park.

The official opening Saturday afternoon was followed by an event under the motto “Arts for the People,” the beginning of a 10-week program featuring shows, workshops, performances and lectures, CNA reported.

The president praised Kaohsiung for having transformed itself from a center of heavy industry to a center of the arts for Southern Taiwan.