Paris, 1st May 2014 (WAM) -- The Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan Theatre at Chateau de Fontainebleau in Paris was opened last night in a glittering ceremony by Sheikh Sultan bin Tahnoun Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Authority for Tourism and Culture (TCA Abu Dhabi), and Aurelie Filippetti, French Culture Minister, after seven years of restoration.
The famous Imperial Theatre at Chateau de Fontainebleau was re-named by France after the UAE President, His Highness Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, in recognition of his generous support to the restoration of the cultural landmark following a historic agreement between the government of Abu Dhabi and France in 2007.
The Imperial Theatre at Chateau de Fontainebleau, one of the premier examples of Second Empire theatres, has long awaited restoration. Shaikh Khalifa, a great lover and patron of the arts, has generously sponsored the renovation of the theatre and its opening to the public.
Mohammed Meer Abdullah Al-Raeesi, UAE Ambassador to France, Nicole Klein, Governor of Seine-et-Marne, Frederic Valletoux, Mayor of Fontainebleau, and an elite of politicians, businessmen, historian, archeologists and cultural figures attended the ceremony.
In an address on behalf of UAE President, Sheikh Sultan expressed pride at the historic theatre, which carries the name of Sheikh Khalifa and deeply thanked French President Francois Hollande for re-naming the iconic theatre after the UAE President.
''The restoration works have brought the original shine back to the historic building thanks to joint cooperation between the governments of UAE and France,'' Sheikh Sultan said, affirming that such partnership reflects the deep-rooted ties that link the two countries and the common values they share in safeguarding and protecting cultural heritage.
''The project stands witness to tell the history of the historic palace to the 21st century visitors and underscores the importance of restoration according to scientific methods and acknowledging the fine artistic connoisseurship of the 19th century,'' he added.
Sheikh Sultan also spelt out the UAE's strategy for safeguarding rare, exquisite cultural masterpieces.
''The UAE is rapidly moving forward to deliver its Vision 2030 ..... our leadership values the role culture can play in boosting sustainable development in the community and recognises the significance of preserving heritage to the present and future generations,'' he stressed.
''The Government of Abu Dhabi will pursue its efforts to safeguard the archaeological discoveries in historic sites inscribed in the UNESCO's Lists of World Heritage Sites, and continue to building new museums to connect past with present. In this context I remember the famous words of the late founding father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan :"He who has no past, has no present and no future.''
The Chairman of Abu Dhabi Authority for Tourism and Culture (TCA Abu Dhabi) emphasised the keenness of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan to save human heritage from extinction, noting that H.H always calls for creating and developing the cultural and heritage landscape in the region and the world at large and supporting the cultural and heritage renaissance and its activities through an integrated infrastructure guided by the rich legacy cherished by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.
Sheikh Sultan hailed France for its role in promoting cultural interaction between the two countries in parallel with the depth of strategic bilateral ties.
He added that France is well known of its passion of arts, literature and heritage and its care for other spectrum of art.
and the UAE is very proud for having contributed to France's efforts to restoring some of its glorious past through renovation of the historic theatre which will be a source of pride for future generations in the UAE, France and the broader world.
For her part, French Culture Minister Aurelie Filippetti said the opening of Napoleon III Theatre and re-naming it after the UAE President is significant testimony of the exceptional ties that bind the UAE and France.
In an speech on the landmark event, the minister noted the rapidly evolving bilateral ties between the friendly countries in all domains, mainly in the cultural field.
She commended the launch of the exhibition Birth of a Museum in Napoleon Hall at Louvre Paris and the opening of the Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Theatre as two signature events, underscoring the commitment of both countries to promoting their cultural relations.
The minister expressed profound gratitude of the Government of France to the UAE President, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, for his great generosity that has made possible the renovation and opening of the Imperial Theatre.
Thanks to Sheikh Khalifa, she said, the Theatre is back to life again and will, as of next Week, welcome hundreds of tourists, visitors and school children.