A fully-equipped modern theatre would be set up in Kochi by the end of October.

Film actor Revathi and dramatist Kavalam Narayana Panicker made an earnest plea here on Sunday for the revival of drama in Kerala, home to a large number of talented and passionate artistes.

Mr. Panicker said that drama was not a dying art but was being ignored while Ms. Revathi vouched for the beauty of the art form in which she found a lot of satisfaction and solace over the past few years during which she did research into Tamil drama forms and history of theatre in Tamil Nadu.

The Thrissur School of Drama, she recalled, brought together some of the best and most passionate theatre actors and writers comparable to those in the National School of Drama. However, she was sad to see drama not getting enough audience in the State now.

They were speaking at a press conference organised to introduce the 10 plays that will be staged over the next week at the Durbar Hall Grounds as part of Lavanyam 2012 Onam celebrations under the aegis of the district administration and the District Tourism Promotion Council. The festival, which opened on Sunday, ends on August 31.

Naatakakaalam — Theatre Time, is an attempt to bring drama to common people at a time when the art form appears to have been boxed into the academic and commercial circles alone,” said G. Ajayan, festival director.

The drama festival is expected to be a regular feature in Kochi during the Onam season with the district administration receiving Rs. 1.5 crore from the government for setting up a modern theatre at the Durbar Hall Grounds, which would be available to theatre groups interested in staging plays.

District Collector P. I. Sheikh Pareed announced that the fully-equipped permanent stage would be ready by the end of October.

The theatre, the first of its kind in the city, would be inaugurated on November 1, Kerala State formation day. “The district administration’s intention is to make drama accessible to the common people,” said Mr. Pareed.

Ms. Revathy said that the drama festival can build a tradition in the long run just as the music festivals in Chennai during the Christmas season. Mr. Panicker, who spoke briefly on his play Kallurutty, said that the 10 plays being staged in the city would bring out the great varieties and possibilities in depicting human situations. Kallurutty revolves around the perennial conflict between two sections of society. He hoped that the series of plays being staged in the city would help revive the culture of Malayalam drama.

Ms. Revathy said that she plunged into the world of drama over the past few years and completed research on the history of Tamil theatre. It is a field that has given her a lot of satisfaction. “This is the most beautiful art form as an actor,” she said. Ms. Revathy appealed to the media to attract the younger generations to watch the plays being staged in the city.

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