Staff Reporter

End to theatre buffs wait

Theatre troupes fear increase in its user fee

Municipality authorities may give the auditorium on lease, they say

BERHAMPUR: The city may get back its more than a century old town hall in a few months from now after a long wait of six years.

However, the theater activists of the city fear that the local municipality may increase its user fee for the local theater troupes after its reopening.

The city has no proper auditorium for the last six years. The old ‘Jubilee Town Hall’ of British era was demolished for reconstruction in 2002, as it was highly damaged during the super cyclone of 1999.

Till 2002, it was managed after doing some minor repair works.

Works delayed

Even the Andhra Pradesh Government had sanctioned Rs. 5 lakh for the reconstruction of this historic town hall. But the reconstruction work was delayed due to different reasons.

According to the authorities concerned the town hall would be ready in a few months as the construction work of the auditorium is expected to be completed soon. This reconstruction project would cost around Rs. 1.36 crore.

According to the sources the municipality has plans to give out this auditorium on lease to some private party rather than managing it.

Disturbing trend

The theater and cultural activists of the city have doubts whether this newly reconstructed town hall would be within their reach or not.

Veteran stage actor and director, Raju Padhi said the State Culture Department and the municipality should see to it that the theater and cultural groups get to use the town hall at a subsidised rate.

“Most of the cultural groups of the city suffer from funds crunch so any increase in the fee for the use of the town hall would make it unaffordable for these theatre and cultural organisations,” he said.

If the user fee of the auditorium is increased then it would not be help in uplifting the dwindling cultural movement in the city, said Mihir Tripathy secretary of ‘Abhinaya Jagat’ an amateur theater group of the city.

Subsidised fee

He also wanted the authorities to fix special subsidised price for staging of dramas and traditional cultural shows in the auditorium. Otherwise the theater groups would be compelled to continue using the Kavisurya Rangamanch auditorium, which lacks facilities, despite the giving a face-lift to the town hall, he said.