Theatre

In the world of alternate spaces

HYDERABAD, TELANGANA, 16-12-2016: Artists during the play rehearsal at at Green Gables International school, near Midland bakery Ayyappa society, Madhapur.. .. Photo: K.V.S. Giri

HYDERABAD, TELANGANA, 16-12-2016: Artists during the play rehearsal at at Green Gables International school, near Midland bakery Ayyappa society, Madhapur.. .. Photo: K.V.S. Giri   | Photo Credit: K.V.S. GIRI

By providing a stage, educational institutions have been adding to the cultural scene in their own way

Stage in the school

Everyday at 7 p.m., the Green Gables International School in Madhapur opens its gates to a group of young ‘students’ from Samahaara theatre group. The parking area of the school transforms into classroom and a stage where the youngsters bring out the actors in them. During weekends, these artistes perform plays on this stage for an audience.

The lack of more auditoriums has compelled us to look for more spaces, remarks Rathna Shekar Reddy of Samahaara. “When it comes to auditoriums, Ravindra Bharati takes bookings on a priority basis. At Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, the audience is less. While Shilparamam is expensive, Lamakaan is busy and has new rules and the waiting period is two to three months,” observes Rathna Shekar. With most of his actors doing day jobs, the group was looking for a place where the artistes can rehearse and enact a play every week. Since Rathna Shekar had already worked with the students of Green Gables as a theatre instructor, it became easy for him to approach the authorities. “I started asking people hoping somebody would give us a space,” he smiles.

Once the school gave the green signal, the group worked towards creating a stage. “With the help of a carpenter, we created these wings,” he states and shows us black wooden partitions and also lights in the ceiling. “These are camouflaged and doesn’t become a mess or come in the way when school children are playing.” Every evening the group takes the mats out and rehearse and they have staged quite a few plays too. “They are all ticketed events,” he says with pride. It’s a year-and-half since they have been performing here and have done around 50 shows so far. “Whenever our actors are available, we finalise the dates and schedule for two months,” he states.

The only hitch is that the stage is not elevated so the audience and the actors are at the same level. “We make sure everyone who is seated can see the play. I tell the directors to remember that and design the plays accordingly. We are trying to make the best of whatever is available.” Malathi, Founder of Green Gables calls theatre as a fundamental learning activity. “What we have seen is that youngsters enjoy theatre as much as any school kid. There is no particular age where one starts learning theatre,” she states. Will the school open up to other theatre groups. “There is a lot of trust involved in this. We trust him so part with our space. I am responsible for the space, parking and also see that the neighbours do not get disturbed. if I am getting a group from outside, I have to take care of everything. I can be responsible for my team but I can’t be responsible for others.”

Slice of history

The auditorium at Keshav Memorial Institute of Technology in Narayanaguda is not like any glitzy auditorium but it has been playing an active role in the cultural calendar of Hyderabad. The hall includes plastic chairs, a simple stage and modest settings. Look around and there are pictures of freedom fighters too. “It is a historical place. When Hyderabad joined the Indian Union, this is where Sardar Vallabhai Patel gave speech and hosted the first Indian tricolour,” states Vinay Patankar of the R &D department. The auditorium is not given for commercial purposes but only non-commercial programmes, he informs. “Only a small amount is charged from the organisers. Some musical shows, talks and dramas are organised. Management is from Maharashtra so some Marathi organisations organise their cultural events,” he explains.

The auditorium is regularly used by the students of the college too. Besides some common entrance tests, patang utsav, dandiya night and Halloween events are also held here. “The people living in the surrounding areas ofNarayanaguda are culturally active and are patrons of art,” he smiles. Two years ago, the auditorium hosted Spicmacay’s musical events too.

The auditorium was also in news when Narendra Modi visited the place two years ago before becoming Prime Minister. “He came to inaugurate Sardar Patel’s statue. He interacted with the audience and spoke on the stage,” he recalls.

Are they planning to renovate the auditorium? “We want to do some modifications but who will pay?” he asks and adds, “We want to air-condition the hall but the budget will be more. Since we are not planning to give it for commercial purposes, the funds is an issue,” he states.

Waiting for renovation

For the past 15 years, the auditorium at NIFT has been hosting a variety of events. But the hall has been silent for the past one year. The reason: The lights and sound system is not up to the mark. The ceiling too has some water leakage,” states Shankar, maintenance in-charge at NIFT. The hall has hosted many events - From theatre shows and seminars to school annual days. In-house events like fashion shows or rehearsals keep happening here,” he adds.

Shankar points out the seating in their hall is their speciality. “Seating is very comfortable and the view to the stage is nice. We also have green rooms, make-up rooms and back stage passage,” he smiles and adds, “The light and sound system need to be enhanced. But we continue to get enquiries.” For now, the hall is set for renovation to add to the list of spaces in the city.

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Printable version | Jun 30, 2020 8:42:34 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/theatre/In-the-world-of-alternate-spaces/article16911298.ece

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