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Theatre not given its due in varsities: dramatist

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Dramatist Vayala Vasudevan Pillai: can training create creative artist?
Dramatist Vayala Vasudevan Pillai: can training create creative artist?

Staff Reporter

’An ideal course for universities should be a combination of the spirit of ancient Indian theatre and its methodology’.

Thrissur: Theatre is a marginalised subject in universities in the State, dramatist and former director of the School of Drama and Fine Arts, Vayala Vasudevan Pillai, has said.

Addressing a seminar on ‘Evolution of academics and syllabi in theatre’ at the Second International Theatre Festival of Kerala (ITFoK- 2009) here on Friday, he said that theatre, compared with other subjects, was not getting its due in universities.

“Theatre education suffers when it is made to follow the university’s general education pattern.

The duration of the training and vacations for theatre students should be re-modelled,” he said.

“He posed the fundamental question in art: “Can training create a creative artist or not?”

Theatre syllabi

“It can. It also cannot. The answer is not easy. But one thing is for sure: the training should be conceived and designed to suit individual requirements,” he said.

He referred to the evolution of theatre syllabi at the School of Drama and Fine Arts at the initiative of dramatist G. Sankara Pillai.

“He had a vision. He collected the syllabi of theatre courses in various universities in the U.S., Europe and different parts of Asia.

Elements have been drawn from all these. The objective was to create a course of international standard and vision. He was helped in this endeavour by stalwarts such as K. Ayyappa Panicker and P.K. Venukuttan Nair.”

He said an ideal theatre course for an Indian university should be a combination of the spirit of ancient Indian theatre, its methodology and discipline, and the rigours of modern drama theory and practice.

Indian tradition

“India has a glorious tradition in theatre training. It has comprehensive training manuals and texts on dramaturgy. The essence of tradition and scientific methods of modern theatre practice should be combined,” he observed.

South African dramatist and head of the Drama Department of the University of Cape Town Mark Fleishman and Anantha Krishnan of the University of Hyderabad also spoke.

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