Bangladesh Group Theatre Federation, the umbrella theatre organisation which promotes theatre troupes and theatre practices across the country, has suspended theatre activities - shows, rehearsals and others - from March 17 to 31 to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
The decision came amid surge in coronavirus patients.
‘The government has already shut down the educational institutions and cinemas across the country and urged all to avoid mass gatherings to prevent spread of coronavirus. Therefore, we have decided to suspend theatre activities till March 31. We believe that ensuring the safety of the people takes precedence over everything else. If the situation improves, theatre activities will resume from April 1,’ Kamal Bayezid, secretary general of Bangladesh Group Theatre Federation, told New Age.
Besides, Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy has shut down its venues till March 31. ‘In the wake of coronavirus, Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy has shut down its halls till March 31. The regular activities will resume if the situation improves,’ said Hasan Mahmud, BSA public relations officer.
Thespians and theatre activists have welcomed the move.
International Theatre Institute honorary president Ramendu Majumder said, ‘It is a timely initiative. I urged Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy to shut down its theatre halls because we have to ensure the safety of general people.’
Thespian Mamunur Rashid said, ‘Theatre shows attract a large audience. As the schools and colleges have been shut down to avoid mass gatherings, postponing theatre activities is a logical move. However, BGTF could have allowed theatre troupes to rehearse.’
Thespian Jhuna Chowdhury, also vice-president of Sammilitia Sangskritik Jote, said, ‘Theatre activities have been postponed to make people aware about the virus and prevent mass gatherings. The move, in no way, aims to spread panic among the masses. Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy should keep its rehearsal rooms open to theatre troupes.’
Bangladesh on Wednesday confirmed its first Covid-19 death as the number of confirmed coronavirus patients rose to 14.
The government has shut down all educational institutions across the country, imposed a ban on all travellers’ entry into the country from the European countries except England and suspended visa-on-arrival facilities for all countries for two weeks.
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