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Monday, March 26, 2012

Theatre festival begins today

Dehradun, March 26
The 12th theatre festival is being organised by Dehradun-based Uttar Natya Sansthan (UNS) in collaboration with State Culture Department to celebrate the Vishwa Rangmanch Divas, which falls on March 27, at Survey Auditorium in the city. This 10-day festival will have 10 main theatre groups of the city staging one play each day from 7 pm for two hours. These groups are Vatayan, Kala Manch, Parvatiya Natya Manch, Humn Sanstha, Sambhav Manch Parivar, Meghdut, Yugantar, Doon Ghati Rangmanch, Shail Nut and Dhaad. The plays will represent different genres such as comedy, satire, contemporary and historical. UNS, which wanted to invite competent play groups from outside the state, could not do so.
Addressing a press conference, president, UNS, SP Mamgai, poured out his pain saying: “The state government is completely indifferent towards theatre in the city or in the state as a whole. Owing to this, the funds released to organise the theatre festival has not been fixed. Rather, instead of increasing the fund, the state government has halved the amount from four lakh of previous year to two lakh this year to organise the theatre festival.” He said it was hard to meet the expenses for a prolonged period of 10 days as each group consisted of 20-30 theatrists. Thereupon, the fee of the auditorium is astronomical.
He said: “We have to request the director, Survey Auditorium, to lower their every day fee from Rs 25,000 each day to Rs 5000. Thankfully, he accepted our request. But the way state government has shrunk the budget, it has become difficult for us to sustain for 10 days.”
Mamgai said the government was spending liberally on other cultural events. He rued the fact that it also did not devise a separate culture policy till date whereas they had relentlessly been raising their voice for it.
While enlisting a number of requirements which theatre groups in the city needed to strengthen this important form of art, secretary, UNS, Roshan Dasmana, said: “There is not a single theatre auditorium in the city. So we need a good auditorium on the lines of National School of Drama, which should be equipped with light and sound system of advance technology and have a seating capacity for at least 2000 people. The place can also be well-utilised for rehearsals for the plays as there is no such place in the whole town.” He also stressed on the need to float Sangeet Natak Academy, as other states in the country have, to promote music and theatre.He elaborated upon saying that since the state government did not support art & culture in the state, quite a few aspirants were opting for a career in theatre, which reflected upon the quality churningout from here. Those who were involved did not have much exposure as the organisation did not have funds to take them to the theatre festivals held in other states or invite theatre groups from outside in the city.In a bid to remind the state government about the significant contributions of the theatre groups, he said: “The role of theatre groups, especially street plays, during struggling period for the creation of the state cannot be wished away. They inspired and filled vigour in people to fight for their state. The state government has some responsibility towards them. It has been 11 years since we are trying hard to survive.”

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