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An innovative exercise in collaborative entertainment

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THINKING HEADS: R. Mathivanan (right), creative director, Stray Factory, with his team members wants to exploit the power of social networking to bring creative energies into local theatre. —
THINKING HEADS: R. Mathivanan (right), creative director, Stray Factory, with his team members wants to exploit the power of social networking to bring creative energies into local theatre. —

Ajai Sreevatsan

Heterogeneous group striving for new audiences for theatre

CHENNAI: Theatre is about the limits of possibility. On the stage, under the artificial lights, new personalities evolve and entertain, even if it is just for a short span of time.

To provide a platform to let people come in and peep into this world of personalities and give everyone a chance to explore their creative sides, a group of working professionals have come together to form an entertainment collective in the city.

The group operates in a virtual ‘workshop' called Stray Factory, which defies barriers such as a background in theatre and geographic boundaries.

The set design for one of their upcoming productions is being done by someone based out of New Jersey, music by a Canada-based band and graphic illustrations are done in Mumbai. One of their writers is based in Colombo and the actors are drawn from Puducherry and Coimbatore.

Many of them have alternative careers, but their passion for theatre brings them together.

But how does one work with strangers? “If a person is reasonably passionate about something, they can't go wrong,” says R.Mathivanan, creative director, Stray Factory.

He adds that when people come together and devote whatever time they can, new creative energies materialise. The group's idea is to go beyond theatre, into new and innovative forms of collaborative entertainment.

Aishwarya Mahesh, one of the co-founders of the collective, says “We are trying to bring theatre to everyone. This is a way of creating new audiences.”

One such attempt is The Great Indian Blogologue challenge. Bloggers can submit their virtual diaries which will them be adapted on to the stage on World Blog Day (August 31). “Unless new people who have new ideas and a new set of talents are brought in, theatre cannot reach a wider audience,” says Mr.Mathivanan.

But in the end, it is not just about theatre. As Shravana Raghavan, a co-founder says “It is about meeting new people, learning from them and sharing what we know.”

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