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Topping-out ceremony at Valmiera Drama Theatre


On Friday, 26 May, representatives of the Ministry of Culture, Valmiera Drama Theatre (VDT) company, VAS ‘Valsts nekustamie īpašumi’ (VNĪ), the building contractor SIA AIMASA, and Valmiera Municipal Council gathered at the VDT building to celebrate its topping-out ceremony, marking the moment its reconstruction reached the highest part of the building.

‘A theatre needs a home. Despite the difficulties with the reconstruction of its building, the Valmiera Theatre has produced excellent and popular shows, and in a way the performance of our theatre company can be compared to how our national hockey team can get together and produce a result. The same ability is also asked of all those involved in the reconstruction of not only the Valmiera Theatre building, but also the cultural infrastructure that sees transformations in other Latvian cities. In Valmiera today, we can see a good work pace, with commitment to complete the process within the planned deadlines,’ Minister of Culture Nauris Puntulis said.

A modern black-box auditorium has expanded the outline of the building, above whose frame the builders raised the ceremonial wreath.  VDT will be one of the first theatres in Latvia to have a black-box auditorium, enabling special interaction between the actors and the audience.

‘This is a very important moment for the builders, and I would like to express my deepest gratitude to SIA AIMASA. Over these months, they have become our companions in various struggles and friends of the theatre. However, we are allowing ourselves to be only cautiously happy to have reached this point, because the only thing we can be sure of today is that the Latvian national hockey team will play in the semi-finals of the World Championships. Because in order for a theatre to be built on time, everything depends on a number of lucky coincidences anyway. I’d like to thank the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Finance for their understanding in looking for sources of funding, with special thanks to Jeļena Gavrilova, board member of VAS ‘Valsts nekustamie īpašumi’, who gives us support in our everyday work, not just for celebrations. Thank you to Valmiera Municipal Council for being on the same team with us. And, of course, thank you to the staff of Valmiera Theatre who work here and believe that next summer we will all gather here to unveil the new building of our theatre,’ Evita Ašeradena, head of Valmiera Drama Theatre, said.

‘The meaning of this topping-out ceremony is that most of the last year’s worries are behind us, confirming that VNĪ’s decisions have been justified and correct. We understand how important there being a theatre is for Valmiera, a bustling centre of business and culture in Vidzeme with a tradition of theatre that spans more than a century. So we are pleased to see the reconstruction of VDT reaching its highest point and progressing smoothly. And next year, the city will get a well-equipped cultural venue,’ Jeļena Gavrilova, VNĪ board member, said at the topping-out ceremony.

In May, a contract was signed with SIA AIMASA covering the remaining work needed to implement the construction design for VDT building up to the commissioning of the site. Its bid was found to be the most economical as part of an open tender held by VNĪ. The contractor will have to complete the construction within fourteen months after the signing of the contract. Because SIA AIMASA has already been working at this site, the reconstruction of the VDT building will continue without interruptions, and as early as 2024, the theatre’s staff and its audience will be able to appreciate the work done during the reconstruction.

  ‘SIA AIMASA greets everyone on this day and would like to share its joy at raising the topping-out wreath to the highest point of the building, which means that the frame of the theatre building is now done, and all that remains is to dress it in festive clothes.  As a company founded in Valmiera, SIA AIMASA stresses that it is a matter of honour for it to complete this project on time and to make sure that it is of high quality. Our best people and many companies from Valmiera and Vidzeme region are involved in this work, because everyone wants to do their best making sure that the Valmiera Drama Theatre can accommodate its audiences renovated premises as soon as possible,’ Iveta Vucena, chief technical officer of SIA AIMASA, said.

The theatre in Valmiera dates back to the  1880’s, with the construction of the Latvian Society building and the founding of a theatre at the society. 1923 is considered to be the year of birth for VDT, when regular professional theatre shows began in Valmiera.   In the 1980’s, the old theatre building was demolished and the construction began of a new building to replace the former building of the Latvian Society.

Today, the VDT building, designed by architects M. Ģelzis, O. Upaciere, and J. Gusevs, is a notable example of modern architecture of its period and is a site of cultural-historic heritage. It is a large modern brick wall building with two auditoriums, a theatre museum, an art salon and a café. Its Grand Auditorium opened its doors to the public at the end of 1996, though the theatre building only saw its final commissioning in December 2004.

Once the reconstruction is completed in the first half of 2024, the VDT building will have better energy efficiency and energy management, and offer a more comfortable working environment for the theatre staff, a new black-box auditorium, and improved accessibility. The estimated total cost of the VDT project is 10.41 million euros (including the cost of construction, design, design supervision, equipment, etc.).

The construction procurement is implemented as part of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) project ‘Energy efficiency improvements at the Valmiera Drama Theatre, at Lāčplēša iela 4, Valmiera’ (ID No The construction will be carried out with co-financing by the European Union as part of Measure ‘Improve energy efficiency in public and residential buildings’ of Specific Support Objective 4.2.1 ‘Pursue better energy efficiency in public and residential buildings’ of the ‘Growth and Employment’ Action Programme.

For photos from the event, see HERE.  

VNĪ currently successfully works on 44 national-scope projects, 24 of which are in construction stage. The total budget for the implementation off the projects is more than 336 million euros. VNĪ provides professional technical and administrative real estate management for approximately 352 real properties consisting of 1000 buildings with a total floor area of 0.95 million square metres and 607 ha of land under the buildings, and more than 3460 land properties with an area of 907 hectares. VNĪ is one of 23 Latvian companies that have received the highest platinum award as part of the Sustainability Index of the Institute of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability, confirming the good governance and sustainability of its operations. The company was founded in 1996 and is 100% owned by the Ministry of Finance.