The United Dramatic Academy has been synonymous with the cultural history of Kozhikode for more than half a century. This is where many of our actors cut their teeth and musicians such as Baburaj earned their mettle. Though obscured by new-age cultural organisations, it had made its mark in the minds of a generation of art lovers. Now in the glory of diamond jubilee, the academy is ready for a forceful comeback.

A group of young artistes, led by dramatist A.K. Puthiyangadi, driven by their passion for art, had found a society in 1953. The result, UDA, turned out to be a roaring success.

Theatre and music were its specialisations in the earlier years. There are very few theatre personalities those days in the district who were not associated with UDA. Stalwarts such as M.T. Vasudevan Nair, Thikkodiyan, Pavanan, Uroob and M. Abdurahman were in the forefront to organise the Malabar Natakotsavam under the banner of UDA. The academy produced and staged 19 plays of Puthiyangadi one after the other. Noted actors such as K.P. Ummer, Kunjava, Kunjandi, Nellikkode Bhaskaran, Mamukoya, Kuttyedathi Vilasini and Shanthadevi had acted in these plays at some time. Well-known musicians of the district regularly held concerts in the city under UDA’s banner.

Now, the new office-bearers are planning to celebrate the academy’s diamond jubilee. Old-time associate M.T. Vasudevan Nair will inaugurate the celebrations at Kozhikode Town Hall at 5 p.m. on August 10, Saturday. Dancers from Sreekalalayam, Chelannur, will welcome the gathering with a performance. A ghazal concert by Siraj Amal and Firoz will be the highlight.

Old and new members and other associates of the academy will convene for a family meet at 10 a.m. on Sunday. A talk on the topic ‘Sneha Kudumbam’ by Noushad Areakode will be held in the morning while in the afternoon, members and their families will showcase their artistic talents. The UDA orchestra will conduct a ‘mehfil’ at 4 p.m.

Play to be staged

Industrialist P.V. Gangadharan will inaugurate the valedictory function at 5.30 p.m. A. Pradeep Kumar, MLA, will be the chief guest. The play ‘Radheyanaya Karnan’ by Valluvanadu Signals Kalasamithi, which bagged the first prize in the Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Academy’s Professional Drama competition this year, will be staged at 7 p.m. As part of the celebrations, UDA is planning a series of programmes to encourage young talents. To start with, winners in the State school arts festival from the district will be provided a stage to perform before their friends and family, general secretary T.P. Vasu said.

Many actors and musicians cut their teeth at United Dramatic Academy, which is eyeing a comeback with a diamond jubilee fete.

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