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Watch: Olympus theatre reopens in Maldives showcasing India’s soft power heft

India is supporting, through grant assistance, 46 projects spread across 16 atolls and 36 islands - 23 of which, including Olympus (above), have already been completed (All images courtesy: Indian High Commission in Male)

The India–Maldives partnership, nurtured by centuries-long cultural linkages, has got further enhanced with the reopening of the iconic Olympus theatre in Male over the weekend.

Accompanied by First Lady Fazna Ahmed, High Commissioner of India to the Maldives, Ministers and entertainment industry stakeholders, Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih threw open the redeveloped theatre on Saturday which has been the nucleus around which the art and cultural movement in the island nation has blossomed since 1959.

The renovation of the first and oldest building dedicated to performing arts and entertainment in the Maldives would not have been possible without India’s support which provided grant assistance of MVR 8 million under the High Impact Community Development Projects (HICDPs) scheme for its redevelopment.

The state-of-the-art new facilities for the artists’ fraternity in the theatre building include the installation of a retractable motorised screen, a modern digital projector, new surround sound and lighting systems, a control room, and the addition of practise rooms and changing rooms.

The upgrades to the theatre also include a more spacious cafe, a backyard stage for small events and concerts, and ramps for wheelchair accessibility.

Ever since its inauguration 64 years ago, the Olympus building, listed as a national heritage, has paved the way for developing the music, motion picture, and performing arts industries in the country.

It has, for decades, provided a platform for local artists – actors, filmmakers, playwrights and musicians alike – to develop and display their talents besides also supporting the Dhivehi film industry and encouraging the development of the Maldives’ music scene in its formative years.


New Delhi believes that the Olympus theatre redevelopment is an excellent example of projects furthering socio-economic development that is being implemented across Maldives under the India-Maldives development partnership.

India is supporting, through grant assistance, 46 such projects spread across 16 atolls and 36 islands – 23 of which, including Olympus, have already been completed.

The Indian Embassy in Male is working closely with the Maldivian Ministry of Arts, Culture, and Heritage to realise other significant projects – for restoration of the historic Friday Mosque Hukuru Miskiiy, the development of a Cultural Centre in Dhangethi, the development of a site-museum in NoonuLandhoo and restoration of the Dhiyamigili Palace in Thaa atoll.

Maldives India

The synergies of India’s Neighborhood First and Maldives’ India First policies strengthened further during External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar’s visit to the country, his fourth visit as EAM, last month. India committed to extending a further MVR 100 million (USD 6.5 million) to take on additional community welfare projects in the Maldives during Jaishankar’s visit.

As a well-known music band from India – Anirudh Verma Collective – performed alongside Maldivian artists at the opening of the Olympus theatre, New Delhi promised that it will work closely with Male to organize movie screenings, music shows and other performances to further consolidate our close cultural and people-to-people ties.


“Cooperation in the cultural domain is among the pillars of our bilateral partnership. The Indian Cultural Centre in Male organises several activities – including music classes – which see enthusiastic participation from our Maldivian friends. The re-opening of the Olympus will, no doubt, revive, reinvigorate and rejuvenate the art and music scene in Male,” said Indian High Commissioner Munu Mahawar.

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