The 18-day National Theatre Festival 2016 will end today with the staging of four productions at three halls of Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy and Bangladesh Mahila Samity.
Dhaka-based theatre troupe Natyakendra will stage two short productions – Banduk Juddha and Gadhar Haat – at the National Theatre Hall, while Barisal-based Shobdabali Group Theatre will stage Saheb Chander Eid Bhojon at the Experimental Theatre Hall of Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy.
Another Dhaka-based troupe, Bahubachan, will stage Devi at the Dr Nilima Ibrahim Hall of Bangladesh Mahila Samity.
Earlier, 54 plays were staged by different troupes from around the country at the festival, which has been organised by Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy and Bangladesh Group Theatre Federation.
This year, the organisers have made it a priority to give more exposure to the district-level troupes by reserving the Fridays and Saturdays, when attendance is usually higher, for their shows. A total of 27 district-level troupes have participated in the event.
Besides the shows, there were eight lectures in which thespians and researchers talked about diverse topics related to local theatre.
‘The festival has been a success with great audience feedback. The district-level troupes were given more exposure and students were encouraged to attend the shows at a cheap ticket rate,’ said Akteruzzaman, secretary general of Bangladesh Group Theatre Federation.
Meanwhile, members of district-based troupes welcomed the exposure move. ‘We are really grateful to the organisers for allotting Fridays and Saturdays for the district-based troupes,’ said Mamin Babu, a member of Sirajganj-based troupe Natyalok, which staged its play Nari Nasimon on the opening day of the festival.
District-based troupes also demanded that there should be more such privileges in the future and that Shilpakala Academy should help them remain functional round the year.
‘The last edition of the National Theatre Festival was held in 2011. We hope that the academy will turn it into an annual event and also arrange festivals at different districts,’ said Syed Dulal of the Barisal-based Shobdabali Group Theatre.
In this regard, the academy’s director general Liaquat Ali Lucky said they had already proposed to make the festival an annual one and that the cultural affairs ministry had also given positive response.
‘We will make the festival a big event in our annual calendar and, next time we will encourage the troupes to come up with new productions,’ said Lucky, also chairman of Bangladesh Group Theatre Federation.
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