The restoration wasn’t an easy task, either on pockets or on time. It required a lot of passion as well and a heart at the right place because restoration didn’t only mean repairing all that was broken. It meant a minute inspection and research of what the theatre used to be more than a century back. Layers of paint were peeled off to uncover the original colour of each wall and pillar. As per the Gaiety Theatre website, all repairs and material used were in congruence to the initial design of the building. The process started in 2003 and took almost 6 years to complete. Recently, when I was watching Dylan Moran’s comedy show at the Journal Tyne Theatre in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, UK, the splendour of the theatre made me realize the full extent of the task that must have lain before the Government of Himachal Pradesh when they first set out to restore the Gaiety Theatre. It must have required a lot of perseverance and dedication to go through with it.
Today when you walk in the corridors and the halls, it is very easy to find yourself stepping into a bygone era where spectres of Victorian women in their corsets and gowns stroll around with their hands around the arms of their men wearing black tail coats and hats, sipping expensive, old wines while discussing the latest developments in politics and literature. You blink and you are back in the carpeted, empty halls of today with British voices just fading away beyond the frequencies receptive to human ears. Such is the thoroughness of the restoration that I can add without hesitation that the people who undertook and completed this task have every reason to be proud of their achievement.