Though theatre activists’ dream of having a regional chapter of the National School Drama (NSD) was realised five years ago, the chapter is now floundering as there has been no progress in its academic activities.
The Bangalore chapter, which came into being in February 2009, was the first initiative of its kind outside Delhi.
But, the institute lacks a full-time director, infrastructure and funds to conduct a three-year course in theatre.
Attributing the delay in making the institute functional to the lack of “political will” among elected representatives, theatre activists have urged MPs from the State and Ministers to demand a separate allocation for the drama school in the Union Budget.
The government had provided three acres of land for the institution on the Kalagrama campus of Bangalore University for state-of-the-art premises with fully equipped classroom as well as multiple performance venues.
In April 2012, Union Minister for Culture Kumari Selja laid the foundation stone for the Bangalore chapter of the NSD.
On the occasion, chairperson of the NSD Amal Allana promised to begin a full-fledged three-year theatre training programme by August 2012.
But till date, the Bangalore chapter has been running only three-month residential courses covering topics such as theatre in education, theatre techniques and acting for a few students at Guru Nanak Bhavan.
These courses are conducted with meagre funds allocated by the NSD, Delhi. “It is difficult to run the institution on ad hoc basis for long. Separate budgetary allocation is the only solution to the problem,” said Chidambara Rao Jambe, Camp Director of NSD. However, he said: “This is a temporary arrangement to prepare the ground for the full-fledged three-year course.”
Time running out
The delay in commencing full-fledged courses might force the government to ask the drama school to vacate Guru Nanak Bhavan.
“The Department of Sports and Youth Affairs has already written a letter in this regard as time has been given only till September this year,” Mr. Jambe said.
Speaking to The Hindu, theatre personality K.M. Marulasiddappa, who played a role in getting the Bangalore chapter sanctioned, lamented that the NSD acceded to the demand for a regional chapter with much reluctance.