K.K. GOPALAKRISHNAN

The one-week national theatre festival being organised by Rangachetana will showcase plays from different States.

Turning 25 is no easy task especially for a cultural organisation. Rangachetana, Thrissu r, is today, a centre for the promotion of theatre in Kerala. It has been organising various programmes since February 2005 to mark its Silver Jubilee.The year-long celebrations comes to an end with a week-long national theatre festival at the regional t heatre of the Sangeet Natak Akademi, Thrissur, from February 11. The brainchild of E.T. Varghese, `Rangachetana' was inaugurated on February 11, 1980, by the late theatre thespian G. Sankara Pillai.

Mark of respect

"This one-week national festival is dedicated to his memory," says Varghese. As a mark of tribute to Sankara Pillai who died on January 1, 1989, the group had performed street plays all over Kerala for 50 0 days from January 1 1990 to May 15 1991, which might be a record.Emphasising on theatre studies, Rangachetana began its work with street plays. They have made a mark in children's theatre, street theatre and theatre for elders and have published 26 boo ks on theatre. The group has staged 112 plays at 4,600 plus stages in India. The national theatre festival will comprise plays from different States and languages. Theatre thespian from Manipur, Rathan Thiyyam, who is the director of Chorus Repertoire Th eatre, will inaugurate the festival on February 11, followed by a performance of his famous play `Nine hills one valley.' Kavalam Narayana Panikkar, vice-chairman of Sangeet Natak Akademi, will inaugurate the valedictory function on February 18. His play `Maya' will be staged by Sopanam. Other programmes include plays in Assamese, Bengali, Malayalam, Karnataka, Tamil and Hindi, directed by Bahrul Islam, Neelima Chakraborty, Shibhu S. Kottaram, K.G. Krishnamoorthy, R. Raju and Vijay Kumar, respectively. Another feature of the festival will be a national seminar on `Theatre of today.' The present status of theatre in various Indian languages will be unveiled during the seminar session with active involvement of the plays' directors.