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Theatre industry gets a much needed shot in the arm

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BACK TO THE STAGE: A scene from the play Alexander.
BACK TO THE STAGE: A scene from the play Alexander.

Syed Muthahar Saqaf

Stage plays, once a major source of entertainment, suddenly lost their lustre

TIRUCHI: The theatre industry has received a big boon of late, thanks to the unique ‘theatre rejuvenation scheme’ introduced by the South Zone Cultural Centre, Thanjavur.

Joining hands with the State Department of Art and Culture and the Rasika Ranjana Sabha, Tiruchi, the Centre has been staging plays regularly much to the enthusiasm of art lovers and drama artists.

In the recent past, 15 plays have been staged in Tiruchi. They provided ample opportunities to a large number of artists to revive their talents, and the art that was on the brink of extinction.

Stage plays, once a major source of entertainment for people of all age groups, suddenly lost their lustre, owing to the onslaught of cinema and electronic media. This was despite the fact that many matinee idols such Thyagaraja Bhagavathar, Sivaji Ganesan and M.G. Ramachandran made their debut in the celluloid world only after undergoing a rigorous practice in the drama.

Theatre art was so popular that until a couple of decades ago, the government utilised the influence of the plays for propagating various mass welfare schemes among the people of both urban and rural areas. However, the stage plays became a thing of the past, pushing local artists into penury.

The introduction of the scheme has prompted the Department of Art and Culture to spare no efforts at achieving the desired goal. “The department and the Rasika Ranjana Sabha, a reputed cultural seat promoting art and culture in this part of the State, have taken advantage of the scheme, staging 15 plays here so far. The programmes, which were conducted once a month to patronise the drama artists, had evoked overwhelming response from both the artists and the audience. We have planned to convert it into a weekly feature,” says Regional Assistant Director of Art and Culture R. Gunasekaran.

Director of South Zone Cultural Centre K.V. Giridhar is also keen on making the scheme a success.

A historic play, ‘Maveeran Alexander,’ presented by Ponmalai Sri Vaani Drama Troupe and directed by Athi Sridhar was staged recently.

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