A 15-day theatre festival titled ‘Baishakhi Natya Utsab’, organised by Bangladesh Mahila Samity in association with cultural affairs ministry and Bangladesh Group Theatre Federation, began on Monday with staging of Aranayak Natyadal’s popular production Raarang at Dr Nilima Ibrahim Hall of the samity.
Written and directed by Mamunur Rashid, the play features struggles of the Santal community, an ethnic minority group living in the northern part of Bangladesh.
The festival featuring 15 plays by the same number Dhaka-based troupes has been organised to welcome the Bangla New Year and to popularise the once most popular theatre venue vibrant again after its renovation.
After the five-year renovation of the hall in 2016, another month-long promotional theatre festival was organised at Mahila Samity by the theatre federation in association of the samity. But, the venue did not get the expected popularity due to its high rental rate.
In the inauguration ceremony of the ongoing theatre festival held on Monday, the cultural affairs minister Asaduzzaman Noor announced that the government would provide Tk 6,500 subsidy per show at Mahila Samity so that theatre troupes can stage shows at the venue paying just Tk 5000, which is similar to rental rate of currently popular venues of Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy.
‘The history of urban theatre practice in Bangladesh is interwoven with Banglades Mahila Samity. So it is our duty to continue the legacy,’ Noor said.
International Theatre Institute honourary president Ramendu Majumdar expected, ‘We hope the festival will help attract troupes and audience once again to the venue’.
Thespian Mamunur Rashid, Bangladesh Group Theatre Federation chairman Liaquat Ali Lucky, its secretary general Akteruzzaman and Bangladesh Mahila Samity executive member Nipa Swarwar were also present at the programme.
As part of the festival, Desh Natok staged its play Nityapuran on Tuesday, while Dhaka Theatre Mancha will stage Ghar Jamai today.
The festival will also feature Meraj Fakirer Ma by Theatre, Dhaboman by Dhaka Theatre, Konjush by Loko Natyadal (Siddheswary), Gunjan Bibir Pala by Padatik Natya Sangsad TSC, Crutch-er Colonel by BotTola, Dhaleswary Opera by Aguntuk, Golapjan by Theatre Art Unit, Paicho Chorer Kissa by Dhaka Padatik, Circus Circus by Prachyanat, Condemned Cell by Prangonemor, Kritadaser Hasi by Nagarik Natyangan Bangladesh and Open Couple by Nagarik Natya Sampradaya in the coming days.
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